People are always worth it

Casting Away Stones – Ecclesiastes 3
Week 8 – Ecclesiastes 3:8

Day One: People are always worth it: a time to love
Day Two: The ugly H-word
Day Three: Wars and rumors of wars
Day Four: But now in Christ…
Day Five: Searching for mommy-peace
Heart verse:
In overflowing anger for a moment
    I hid my face from you,
but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,”
    says the Lord, your Redeemer.
Isaiah 54:8
Day 1 – People are always worth it: A time to love

The Bible is full of fun and real life instances of love. I am reminded of the time at youth night when we had our Bibles open to the story of Isaac and Rebekah and my husband, who is ever wonderful and goofy, stood up and proclaimed loudly, “Pay attention! This is the one with love at first sight.” He then proceeded to act out the entire story as a one man show with dramatic motions and sweeping arm gestures. We were all in stitches, and if you read the story in Genesis 24, you’ll see why. Note how many times the word “behold” is used. And the intensity of Isaac and Rebekah’s eyes meeting in verses 63-67. The story concludes with “and he loved her.” It’s so sweet and, most importantly, so real.

And there’s so many more stories of romantic love, both beautiful and painful, in the Bible.
Jacob and Rachel’s love amidst family scheming…

Jacob loved Rachel. And he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.” (Genesis 29:18)

Leah always seeking Jacob’s love and approval…
Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will be attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi. (Genesis 29:34)

Hannah’s husband asking, “Aren’t I enough?” (1 Samuel 1:8)

The friendship love –
Of David and Jonathan…
Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. (1 Samuel 18:3)

Of Jesus and John…
One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus’ side (John 13:23)

Of God’s love for his people –
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. (1 John 3:1a)

Even in anger –
    I hid my face from you,
but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,”
    says the Lord, your Redeemer
(Isaiah 54:8)

Love is not optional, as an objective thing or as an emotion. It is a gift from the Father, with the Son and the Spirit, that we can not live without. We were designed to receive it and to give it. We need it like we need air and water. It is the sustenance of life.

It is the first and greatest commandment. And the next is like it.
And he said to him,“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

Are we on the same page?
We need love. Biblical Truth.

But in our Ecclesiastes passage this week, there are three little words in front of love that change our discussion a bit. Let’s look and see. Read the passage and fill in the blank below in relation to the word love.

a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.”

_____ __________ _______ love


Atime to love…

This passage would insinuate that there is a time not to love, and indeed if we look at the Ecclesiastes 3 context, there is, in fact, a time to hate. Yikes.

Here is my take on it all. We know Jesus, so we are always filled with His love and always called to love. The difference is that it may look a whole lot different than we expect in different seasons.

God is love (1 John 4:8). He lives in us, by His Spirit, so we are never without love. Living in a season without love is just not our New Testament reality. But our experience and expressionsof love in life may not scream love the way the world would understand it.

There will be times in love when we feel lonely. There will be times when we feel lost and sad and left behind. There will also be times that we will be called to love in a way that looks a whole lot like expressed anger and frustration, and a removal of time and energy in a relationship. Our experience of love may look a lot like “a time to love, a time to hate” woven together. Not in a willy-nilly, hap hazard throwing around of emotions, but a casting out and pulling in of relationship in order to care for those who need to be cared for at any given time. To share life in a real and legitimate way, instead of an inauthentic love that smells of flowers and chocolate.

It’s exhausting to discern. Relationships always are. But we have an inexhaustible God, who lives in us, and frees us for the challenge.

I was telling my tale of relational woe to a friend the other day and her words stopped me in my tracks, “Well, it’s like you always say…
‘People are always worth it.’”

I didn’t even know I always say that! But evidently I do. And there’s a reason.

In this life, that is the dance of love and hate and struggle and joy and seeking and receiving during our short little time here on earth – people are always God’s primary concern. And so they will be mine.

Through the pain and sorrow of figuring out relationships, to the sharing of love by hugging and laughing or hating idols and toppling them in one another’s lives, I’m all in. I’m not going to be halfway in, protecting a corner of my heart where no one gets in. I have an all-in Savior, with an all-in love.

Isaiah 54:8 from earlier speaks the truth of this in our lives…
In overflowing anger for a moment
    I hid my face from you,
but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,”
    says the Lord, your Redeemer.

Love poured out in a face hidden. This may look so different than we would normally label love, but it doesn’t change the truth of it.

When have you been forced to express love in a different kind of way? Has God ever taken you through a season of loneliness or sadness to show you the depth of His love? Where are the dark places you can show love, by toppling idols that don’t belong?

It’s a challenge, but I promise you – 
People are always worth it.



Discussion questions:
When have you been forced to express love in a different kind of way?
Has God ever taken you through a season of loneliness or sadness to show you the depth of His love?
What dark places can you show love by toppling idols that don’t belong? (Think about issues like abortion and human trafficking, or individual relationships like speaking up against someone’s affair.)
What are other alternative expressions of love that you can think of, that the world would deem unloving or even hateful?

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