For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
Coffee is the second most popular beverage in the world and is valued at more than $460 billion. With almost half of all Americans drinking around 450 million cups a day, it’s no wonder there are over 37,000 coffee shops employing about 1.7 million people.
Funny thing about coffee. No one in their right mind would eat a coffee bean. No one eats the flesh off a coffee bean like they eat a peach. You’ll never find anyone picking coffee beans off a tree and popping them in their month. You’d never make a salad from coffee leaves.
And no one takes raw coffee beans and tries to make a drink from it. Before coffee is ready for brewing, the beans go through a complex process that takes lots of time, transportation, energy, manpower, machinery, and water.
Once ready for brewing, it’s shipped to local coffee shops and grocery stores. This is where people like you and me can make or buy our three cups of coffee a day.
Now people don’t go through a ton of steps to get coffee to us just to have it sit on the shelf. We don’t buy it just so we can point to a bag when we wake up or when people come over.
No. The whole point of coffee is to be used. Coffee was made to be brewed. And once brewed, people drink it. Coffee wasn’t made to be looked at. Not to be talked about. Not to be written about. Not to be blogged about.
Faith is like coffee. The whole point of faith is that it’s to be used and shared. Faith is to be expressed. Faith in God isn’t just something you think about. It isn’t something you talk about, or even feel.
Faith always, always, always leads to expression. And what kind of expression does faith lead to? Faith in Jesus always leads to love. Loving action that reaches out and helps.
Our Christian family.
Our biological family.
When Paul tells the Galatian believers that the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love, he wasn’t kidding. He wasn’t making a joke or being sarcastic. He was being really serious.
Faith isn’t something that’s to be used to beat people over the head with. It’s not a way to win an argument. It’s not even a way to get lots and likes and internet traffic.
No, faith is to show itself through daily loving words and actions to the people around us. This means that we want nothing but the absolute best for them.
Loving someone isn’t about getting them to agree with us. Get them on our team. On our side. Love lets go of what we want and holds on tight to what God wants. Love always gives the best.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Without a doubt, this is the greatest example of love in the history of the world. God sending his Son into a world that wasn’t going to welcome him as a rockstar, but as someone that people wanted to throw rocks at. Jesus came not to be lifted up on a stage but to be lifted up on a cross.
Yes, the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. So, how’s our faith expressing itself these days?
Do we see our faith listening to people with ears and an attitude of love? Willing to wait as they tell their story? Share their pain. Talk through their loneliness.
Or are we impatiently wanting them to get to the point so we can go do something more important? Are we tapping our feet and fingers impatiently while they go on and on? Are we listening just like we want to be listened to?
And when we talk with people, are we using words of kindness and patience? Do our words ask questions that help them express what’s going on inside? Or are we more interested in hearing ourselves talk and beating down the other person?
Are our words gently moving people towards the only one who can meet their deepest need? Do we talk just like we want to be talked to?
Coffee was made to express itself. To give itself for the benefit of others. It’s the same way with faith. Faith expressing itself through love is always for the benefit of others too.