The Standard of Love
Nearly everyone struggles with the question, “Do I measure up?” We wrestle with this as long as we live. What is the standard for our lives and work, and do we measure up? We are all stewards: of time, money, energy, responsibilities, and even our minds and hearts. This is not just a question for individuals--I think constantly about the stewardship of CEM. After all, the stakes are high. It is not an exaggeration to say, as we have heard from a multitude of students, that the stewardship of Christian Encounter is a matter of physical and spiritual life and death.
People and organizations are measured in many ways, but the greatest standard is given to us by Jesus. It is summarized in what He described as the greatest commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” The standard is love! Love of God, and, as Jesus says next, love of neighbor as oneself. Love, therefore, must be the foundation, the motivation, and the result of Christian Encounter’s existence.
Loving so purely, however, goes beyond our ability. In fact, our culture, like most cultures, struggles even to understand and define love, let alone practice it so completely. No person, and no organization made up of people, has met Jesus’ simple but high standard.
Because we do not measure up, the cause of love must be our consuming focus. It’s the aim of our team of staff and interns, and it’s a daily choice in each heart. But we are not fighting for this alone. One of the most amazing things I have experienced at the Ranch is the sudden awareness that my heart is filling with love for a new student who is just arriving, even when all I know about them is their name and age. This love did not originate in my heart: it is simply God’s love for this precious, hurting soul, and He is sharing a little of it with me and others here so we will know this person is beloved by God.
God calls us to a standard of love that we cannot achieve on our own, but then He places that love in our hearts. Because He loves us with this pure and complete love, He helps us, day by day, as we strive to follow. We don’t have to measure up; Jesus has done it for us.
Nate Boyd, Executive Director