I just got finished jogging on an elliptical we have here at the parsonage. It was here when we arrived, and I wanted to hold onto it out of some pie-in-the-sky notion that I should be exercising regularly for my health. Now, I know what you’re thinking – but Pastor Jon, only crazy people run for fun – but hear me out. Over the last few years, I’ve noticed a decline in my energy and strength output. I’m starting to feel my age (when I said that during a sermon, two people laughed at me!). And I know the solution is right in front of me – exercise more. I know that as I exercise more, I will become healthy, and I will have the kind of energy and strength that I want to have, and I’ll be able to do more of the things I want to do.

Often, the solution to the best kind of church is obvious – we need to love each other. But it’s not always easy. There are road blocks – perhaps the other person had a bad day and took it out on you, or you had a bad sleep or not enough coffee and took it out on them. There is effort to be put in – loving each other requires humility, putting ourselves second, and working towards the other person’s good.  But we need to discipline ourselves to put in the effort, because the product will be worth it.

A loving church is like a healthy body – it is a body that has the kind of energy (willingness to serve God, desire to see His kingdom come) and strength (making ourselves open to the Holy Spirit, moving where He wants us to go, doing what He wants us to do) to accomplish the things that God wills it to do. If we do not exercise, if we do not put in the effort, we weaken our ability to respond to God’s movements.

So this week, go way out of your way to love other people. Bless a neighbour that could use it. Pick up the slack for a coworker who is struggling without credit. Buy lunch for a friend at school who may not be able to. Step in and meet a need of a fellow believer that they cannot. Because love is a muscle – use it, and you’ll be able to do more for God!