Summary: We are fed by nurturing and loving others. We talk a lot about love, but are we really loving others?
Are you being spiritually fed?
I want to share several things that you can do to make sure you are being spiritually fed.
First, love. As simple as that.
Now that makes sense – we all want to be loved. And being loved makes us feel good. We feel supported by others when they love us.
But that is not exactly what the author of Ephesians has in mind.
He is not talking about the love you receive, but the love you give.
In our New Testament lesson for today, the writer says, "As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love."
Love is central to everything written in the Gospels. It is foundational to everything else in the Christian experience. If you want to grow in your faith, if you want to feed and nurture your spiritual life, then learn to love others.
In Matthew (Matt 22:36-40), a man approaches Jesus and asks, "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"
Jesus replied: "’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ’Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
Is this boring or is it just me?
Don’t answer that!
It’s just that we are always talking about love in the church, and it is getting a bit boring.
I mean, if there is one thing we know how to do in the Christian Church, it is love.
Have you heard about the fellow who sold his soul on ebay? Hemant Mehta offered his soul on ebay. Actually, he didn’t sell his soul – he rented it. For every $10 the winning bid paid, Mehta would spend one hour in a church of the buyer’s choice. He promised to go with an open mind and he promised to conduct himself in a respectful manner.
Retired pastor Jim Henderson won the soul – but instead of selecting his own church, he asked Mehta to pick a different place of worship every week. The plan was they would go together and Mehta would share his impressions with the retired pastor.
Mehta said he was surprised at what he discovered in the churches. They were energetic and dynamic places. People cared about each other. The preaching was interesting. He loved the live music.
What he didn’t like, however, was how Christians talk so badly about other people. Christians regarded Muslims as terrorists. When Christians talked about gays, they talked with hatred. There was racist talk in the Sunday School discussions. (Leadership Magazine, Summer 2006)
Maybe love is easier to talk about, than to do.
It’s time we begin to do more than talk about love. It is time for us to do it.
If you come to church and think, “My soul isn’t being fed” – maybe it is because you aren’t loving others.
Notice, what is important is not so much that we find someone to love us. What is important is that we love others.
In the motion picture, Marvin’s Room, there are two sisters who have been estranged for many years. When one of them is diagnosed with cancer, the other sister arrives to help take care of her. In one of the final scenes of the movie, the two sisters are talking about their lives, and the one with cancer says, "I’m so lucky. I’m so lucky. I’ve had so much love in my life."
"Yes, yes," the other sister agrees, barely looking at her sister while she cleans the kitchen. "You’ve always had people around you who loved you."
"Oh no," the other sister says with a look of surprise. "I’m lucky because I’ve been able to love so many people."
It is the loving of others that nurtures our souls.
John said in one of his letters (I Jn 3:10), "This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother."
Whenever someone says, "I’m not being fed," I wonder if that person is trying to love others.
You want to nurture your soul?
Then renew your vow to God that you will love others.
A second step to spiritual nurture is to study the Word of God.
In the New Testament lesson, the author wrote about how we should work toward spiritual growth "until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature..."