One day just before Halloween a young girl and her mentally challenged brother went to the market for their mother. While there, the lad wandered over to the bright orange candy display. Promptly, he began to pull bag after pretty bag down upon the floor — much to the chagrin of the stock boy who promptly began to yell, wave his arms in an animated fashion, reducing the lad to tears. The sister, hearing the commotion, came on the double. Turning to her, the frustrated stock boy yelled at her, "Do something!" At which she sweetly sauntered up to her brother, placed an arm about him, wiped his tears, kissed his cheek, and whispered in his ear. A bright smile broke upon his face. Reaching down he picked up a bag of candy in each fist, and began to restock the shelf — if in a somewhat disorderly fashion. Flabbergasted, the stock clerk asked the girl what she had said. Her reply, "Why, I just loved it into him."
Like the lad, most people respond better to love. It is the greatest motivator. St. Paul wrote,
Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a,13 NIV)
As far as motivational priorities goes, love has always been better than anything else. One day, when a lawyer came to Jesus with questions concerning priorities, Jesus responded quite simply. He said in effect, "Love God first, then love your neighbour — as you love yourself." Jesus had a way of keeping it very simple. Love God. Love each other. Love yourself, also. How simple! How utterly complete! Like the lawyer, do we get so caught up in our day to day priorities, that we fail to see God's love bursting forth like the sunshine? Are we so caught up in our own issues, that all we can see is the mess and so miss the joy of the law of love. Or do we respond with love delighting in those around us and so experience the goodness of the law of love.
Prayer: Dear God, Surround us with your loving arms. Enable us to delight in you first, and then in each other. Grant that we may love each other as we are loved by you. Grant to us the kind of love that rejoices in those around us like a child delights in a candy display. For we pray in Jesus' name. Amen.