“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 (NKJV)

When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus responded by emphasizing the two-fold response of love.

“Jesus answered him, ‘The first of all the commandments is: “Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.'” Mark 12:29-31 (NKJV)

The beginning of any ministry venture is the love of God. Without a love relationship with Jesus, the ministry is simply a job, something to do, something to get done. Unless we first have the abiding presence of a true love toward God upwardly, it’s impossible to be a vessel of love toward others outwardly. The vertical love occurs first, and then our love for each other horizontally. The true motivation for serving the Lord is love. His agape love to us and then through us.

Our essence of existing is the love of God poured out upon us – not when we were at our best – but when we were at our worst. The love of God is the very glue that holds our relationship together, growing us in grace, and extending our hearts toward Him and others.

God has created the position of a pastor out of love – love for you and love for His flock. For those called to the pastoral ministry, know that it was the love of God that called you. When times get tough, we have the love of God steadily stabilizing us. When all looks bleak, we have the love of God sustaining us. When we doubt, God loves us still. When we waver, the love of God keeps us strong. When we don’t know what to do, the love of God is the anchor that brings us back to wisdom.

Before you step out in answering the call of pastoral ministry or any place in His church, reassess your love relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Truly, this reassessment occurs over and over again throughout our life of ministry and service.

“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:9-11 (NKJV)