How do we know that we love Jesus? I mean, love is a word charged with emotion and introspection. How much is enough? Can I ever repay Him for what he has done for me?
I am a romantic. I one of those rare men that enjoys the idea that that book of Song of Songs is an allegory for our relationship with Jesus. I am comfortable with the idea of Him as my lover.
However, In the gospels Jesus seems amazingly unsentimental in hIs measure of a persons love for Him.
"Peter do you love me?" "Take care of my sheep"
Nothing about passion,intimacy or romance. Peter's love for Jesus was tested by his care for Jesus' church. Infuriatingly practical.
I believe that ultimately our love for Him is also measured horizontally, in our love for other believers.
This is heart of volunteerism. It is horizontally expressed love for Christ.
Sometimes serving people hurts like labor pains. Paul called it a 'labor of love'.
Not that I would know exactly how that feels, but I've been close to know that the process is brutal. But the pain is forgotten when the baby arrives. It's sometimes similar with serving.
"my dear children for whom I am in the pangs of labor until Christ is formed in you."
The dignity of serving though, is that what we do for the least of these we do for Jesus himself.
And the benefit of serving is counter - intuitive.
You'd think that serving makes you weaker.
Actually it's Gods way of making us stronger.
"the whole body builds itself up as each part does its work."