Because God is love, the most important lesson He wants us to learn right now is love. It is in loving and showing love to others that we are most like our Father in heaven. Love forms the foundation of every command God has given us.

Jesus tells us that our love for each other — not our doctrinal beliefs — is our greatest witness to the world. Why? Because showing love to one another will prove to the world, more than all other things combined, that we are believers, and that we have family responsibilities to each other. When we have the opportunity to help anyone, we should, especially family members and those in the “family of believers.” That’s what it says in Galatians 6:10.

I had an opportunity to speak to a couple of family members recently about problems with finances. But what is more important is what’s in our spiritual bank accounts. Is it hundreds of doctrinal beliefs; thousands of hours doing things for God; hundreds of thousands of spiritual words spoken? If you don’t have love as the motivation for all the above then you are spiritually bankrupt.

Relationships that give us opportunities to show others love is what matters most in life, not our achievements and monetary value.

Love creates and renews. That is why we should make it our number one priority. God has told us in his love chapter, Corinthians 13:13, that there are three things that last forever: faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love. Mother Teresa was a very godly woman, and said, “Love is our most important legacy. It’s not what you do, but how much love you put into it that matters.”

In my work as an Army medic during the Vietnam War, and later as a nurse, prior to becoming an English teacher, I had many opportunities to stand at the bedside of people in their final hours of life, and do you know what they asked for? It wasn’t to see their bank account statements, they’re awards or possessions. What they wanted most was to be with those they loved. This is made even clearer to me every time I attend the funeral of a dear friend, such as Evelyn Stremlau recently. She not only wrote wonderful stories and poems about love, but also showed it every opportunity she had. One of the obvious ways she did was to make a “love quilt” for each of her 36 grandchildren.

God has a way of measuring our spiritual maturity based on the quality of our relationships. He tells us that by doing things for the least of our brethren that we are doing it to and for him.

Most people in this life are consumed with getting things done. They fill their days with so much stuff that they don’t have any, or much time left for loving. So let me ask you, why should God give you one more day if you are going to waste it on unimportant pursuits?

It has been said, and I’ll repeat it. “If you want to know a person’s priorities, look at how they use their time.” Time is a precious gift because God only gives us a certain amount of it. When you’ve given someone your time, you’ve given a part of your life you’ll never get back. Your time is your life. So one of the greatest gifts you can give someone is your time. And unless you are giving yourself, you are not giving the essence of life — your love.

Now is the best time to express your love. You have no guarantee there will be a tomorrow. Sometimes people die unexpectedly. Family and friends sometimes move away, leaving you wishing that you had spent more time with them, shown them more love. Whom do you need to reach out to in love today? Don’t wait.

— Allen Stark can be reached at amsstark@msn.com.

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