Language is a map to a culture. It opens the door for us to understand people. It gives us clues about what we value, shun, fear, and love.

“Wasting” is a fairly common word in the English language. We say, for example, “I wasted my time,” as in waiting for an audience with a judge and not having the sentence go the way we wanted. We say, “I wasted a trip,” if we travel a certain distance to meet someone, only to find that the person was not there. And we say, “I wasted my efforts,” if we study for a test and don’t pass.

But do we ever say, “I wasted my love”? I’m sure someone will but it is not a logical phrase. And the reason is that by its own definition love is not given as a way to get something. Love is freely given. It embodies the definition of “no strings attached.” As such, therefore, it can never be wasted. It should rather be a renewable resource in the Church.

One author defines love as “… a sacrificial giving of oneself for the welfare of someone else — even if that person is unresponsive or undeserving.” (Larry E. McCall). This is exactly what Jesus did for us. The expression “He gave Himself up for us” is repeated multiple times in the New Testament. He didn’t have to but He did it anyway. That is in essence what true love is — a gift given without being procured.

Jesus’ love was marked by voluntary actions:

For the Church — He gave Himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25-27).

For the disciples — He loved them to the end (John 13:1).

For His Father —  He abided in His love (John 15:9-17).

For us — He poured out His Spirit in us (Romans 5:5).

For the ungodly — He sends the sun and the rain to them (Matthew 5:43-45).

Biblical love, therefore, is never a means to an end. It is not an activity that is marked by quid pro quo (you scratch my back, I scratch yours). It is rather a gift that is given even if the recipient is unresponsive or insensitive. For this reason, it can never be wasted because it seeks no interest outside of itself. Plus, when I truly love, I am feeding my own soul, and what’s to waste in that?

For a Christ follower, then, it should be easy to love. His love has invaded us, it broke the walls of separation, it filled us with an inexhaustible source of love that does not depend on how others react to me. As a follower, “I love because I am.” And “I am because I’m loved.”

Jesus said that the world would know that we are His disciples if we have love one for another. I say to you that without an exuberant show of Christ’s love among His people, there can be no vibrant witness to Christ’s other friends (those who are still outside).

Let’s elevate Christ-like love in His Church!

Pastor Ivanildo da Costa Trindade

Lead Pastor, Grace Church, Lititz, PA