“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. […] May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.” (John 17:20,23 NLT)
Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven? It’s a question that burns inside the human heart. Deep down, we all have the need to matter. To be set apart. To be great. Who is the greatest? The disciples asked Jesus this question. We still ask it today.
Some say that it’s what you do in church that matters most. How high you jump. How loud you pray. How well you dress. The quality of your music. The number of people that fill the pews on a Sunday morning.
I used to think those things were what set some Christians apart from others. But over the last few years, I’ve realized something.
How you express your love for Jesus inside the church is not as important as how you express your love for Jesus outside of the church.
Some of the most beautiful Christians that I know don’t worship the way I worship. They don’t jump when the drums pick up. They don’t pray loudly or speak in tongues all at once. They don’t have flashy lights. They don’t have the latest music. Their weekend services are small.
But oh how they love Jesus!
They work among the poor of the city. They feed the hungry. They provide clothing to those who are without. They provide counseling to women trying to escape prostitution and to men trying to escape addiction. They provide shelter to the homeless.
They gently point people to the Cross. To freedom.
No Church is Perfect
You see, there will always different ways of doing things. No church is perfect. The church is made up of people. And people are messy. Which means that the church is messy.
In Luke 4:18-19, Jesus quotes the prophet Isaiah and says, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”
Our Love For Jesus Matters
What matters? That we love Jesus. That He is our Lord, our head. That we believe that He is the Son of God. That we know that He alone is the way, the truth and the life. That we recognize that apart from Him we can do nothing. That our desire is to be more and more like Him every day. That we are on a journey to overcome the sin in our lives. That we share God’s love with others.
In John 17:23, Jesus prayed that all believers would be in perfect unity. We all have something to offer. We all have something to learn.
What would the Body of Christ look like if the heart mattered most?