Love Is a Do Thing
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Love is a do thing. It’s an energy that has to be dissipated.—Bob Goff1
We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.—Howard Zinn
Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.—Mother Teresa
Service is love made visible. If you love friends, you will serve your friends. If you love community, you will serve your community. If you love money, you will serve your money. And if you love only yourself, you will serve only yourself, and you will have only yourself. … Instead, try to love others, and serve others, and hopefully find those who will love and serve you in return.—Stephen Colbert2
Familiar acts are beautiful through love.—Percy Bysshe Shelley
You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.—Zig Ziglar
Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.—Mother Teresa
A particularly overlooked aspect of the art of gratitude is the habit of noticing. When we notice others and show our appreciation, it pays huge dividends. Additionally, by noticing others we become more attuned to life’s vitality, intensity, and diversity.—Michael McKinney
Like most of us, you can probably look forward to some extra attention on your birthday and certain other special occasions. But doesn’t it make you feel especially loved when, out of the blue, someone does some loving thing for you for no other reason than because he or she loves you?
Why not do the same for others? If you stop to think about it, you’d probably be surprised at how many thoughtful little things you could find to do for others that would cost almost nothing and take almost no time. Want to transform your relationships with family, friends, and workmates? Become a master of the five-minute favor.—Shannon Shaylor3
Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.—Mother Teresa
I heard a self-help guy say once you could look in the mirror and give yourself something he called positive affirmations, like saying to yourself you are good or smart or talented. I don’t know if that works, to be honest. Maybe it does. But I do know one thing that works every time—it’s having somebody else say something good about you.
Words of encouragement are like that. They have their own power. And when they are said by the right people, they can change everything. What I’ve found in following Jesus is that most of the time, when it comes to who says it, we each are the right people. And I’ve concluded something else. That the words people say to us not only have shelf life but have the ability to shape life.—Bob Goff4
When you live on your own for years, you begin to think the world belongs to you. You begin to think all space is your space and all time is your time.
It is like in that movie About a Boy where Nick Hornby's chief character, played by Hugh Grant, believes that life is a play about himself, that all other characters are only acting minor roles in a story that centers around him. My life felt like that. Life was a story about me because I was in every scene. In fact, I was the only one in every scene. I was everywhere I went. If somebody walked into my scene, it would frustrate me because they were disrupting the general theme of the play, namely my comfort or glory.
[And then] a friend and I traveled to Salem to hear Brennan Manning speak. … He opened his talk with the story of Zacchaeus. Brennan talked about how an entire town, with their ridicule and hatred, could not keep the little man from oppressing them through the extravagant financial gains he made as a tax collector. Christ walked through town, Brennan said, and spotted the man. Christ told Zacchaeus that He would like to have a meal with him.
In the single conversation Christ had with Zacchaeus, Brennan reminded us, Jesus spoke affirmation and love, and the tax collector sold his possessions and made amends to those he had robbed. It was the affection of Christ, not the brutality of a town, that healed Zacchaeus.
Manning went on to speak of the great danger of a harsh word, the power of unlove to deteriorate a person’s heart and spirit, and how, as representatives of the grace and love of God, our communication should be seasoned with love and compassion.
While Manning was speaking, I was being shown myself, and I felt like God was asking me to change. I was being asked to walk away from the lies I believed about the world being about me. I had been communicating unlove to my housemates because I thought they were not cooperating with the meaning of life, that meaning being my desire and will and choice and comfort.—Donald Miller5
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’”—Matthew 25:31–406
Published on Anchor February 2013. Read by Gabriel Garcia Valdivieso.
Music by Michael Dooley.
1 Love Does (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2012).
2 Commencement speech at Northwestern University, 2011.
3 Love’s Many Faces (Aurora Production, 2010).
4 Love Does (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2012).
5 Blue Like Jazz (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2003).