Practice Love By Lisa Burkhardt Worley

Note: This is a Guest Post used with permission from Guest Author Lisa Burkhardt Worley at

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality” (Romans 12:9-13).

It was the body of Christ in action. I was one of the speakers at a beautifully planned women’s spring brunch. There were decorated tables, an amazing spread of food, great music, and I received a double portion of blessing from the other two teachers who shared.

But what made this event most memorable was the love I felt as a visitor coming into a new place.

Hug after hug after hug. Any nervousness I felt melted away as the women of this congregation greeted me in sincere love.

It reminded me of a time years ago, in Connecticut, when I was flat on my back in my career, and dry spiritually. I decided our family needed to connect with a church again, so I randomly chose one to attend.

Our last church-going experience in New York was negative. It was one of those mornings where our young son was fussy, and a man behind us shushed him angrily, in an unloving way. We didn’t attend church again while living in New York.

But a couple years later, we decided to try it again, and the minute we walked in the door of this Fairfield, Connecticut congregation, we felt welcome. A woman put her arm around us, connected me with women my age who participated in a Bible study, and because of her hospitality, I began a long journey that would eventually lead me into full-time ministry.

I wonder what would have happened if no one reached out that day? Would we have walked away from church as we did a couple of years prior to this?

But one unselfish act of love made the difference, and changed my life.

In his letter to the Romans, Paul said we should be devoted to one another in love, and practice hospitality.

When someone new sits near you in church, do you stay to yourself, or do you greet them warmly? You may be a little shy like I am, or you may fear rejection.

Dear sister, maybe you’ve been so beaten up by life that you don’t feel you have the capacity to love. Pray for God to increase your capacity. He will be faithful to do that.

We need to practice love. God calls us to get out of our box, and let our love flow to others. If someone doesn’t warm up to your hug, hug someone else. There are plenty of people who crave a loving touch.

Why is it important to love those we encounter? “We love because he first loved us” (1John 4:19). In this passage, John is saying we cannot love God, then reject our brother or sister. Loving others is a byproduct of our love for God. One cannot exist without the other.

John also says this is how people will know we are Christians, by the love we have for each other (John 13:35).

Do people know you because of your love? What about your church? Your workplace? Your groups? Is love evident there?

The most thriving congregations, ministries, and relationships are founded on love, and it is through that love we draw others to the God of hope we embrace.

Will you practice love today? Your warm hug could be the difference in someone’s life. (LBW)

End Of Guest Post


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