We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sisters a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.
// 1 John 4:19
I don’t think we have a giving problem. I think we have a receiving problem. Think about it. If we spent more time receiving from the Lord, spending time in His presence, prayer, the Word, and just enjoying Him out of the overflow of all this, we would have more than enough to give in every relationship we have.
As the church has grown, there have been more potential problems and issues, which is a good problem, but sometimes I have just felt that I have nothing left to give. On top of this I have noticed that I haven’t been as patient, kind, and loving to Georgie and Brooks. I become short with my words, time, and love for them.
You could prescribe a solution to my problem: “Josh, you just need to be more giving, loving, and patient”. But how do I change that behavior? How do I handle the pastoral problems, how do I become a better husband and father?
We love because He first loved us. Unless I first spend time receiving more of His love, I will have nothing left to give. To be honest, that’s where I am at after 18 months of church planting. I feel like all that God has poured into my life, I have poured out all of it and I have nothing left to give. Haha. It’s not funny, but it also kind of is. But don’t be freaked out, there is a solution for me!
As Isaiah says, “Those that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength”. Strength for what? To love again, to give again, to encourage again, because we have spent time with the source of all love, God Himself.
So I don’t think you or I have a giving problem for whatever is not working in our relationships. Yes, someone could prescribe what you need to do, but unless you have received from God, how can you giving something you don’t currently have?
Spend time each day receiving from Him, take moments in your day where you pray, refuel, read His word, talk, listen, and just rest in His presence. We will still make mistakes but at least we will have something of God to give.
I am learning to stop again after this big season of planting a church, so that what God wants to do through my life will actually happen – because I stopped and received it. I am learning that unless I receive this love from God for my family first, then really none of this matters.
Our prayer for all us at C3 Brooklyn is that we all begin to live out of the overflow of receiving grace and love from Jesus. There will be more than enough love to go around. Why? Because God is love.
// Josh Kelsey