If I have not love…

I’ve done my best to process some of the may inspirational and challenging thoughts that were thrown out at the Oasis Staff Conference last week, and I’m going to try to outwork one or two of them here. No promises, mind, as I’m well aware of how easily this blog could be re-titled “good intentions”…

The Oasis staff conference is one of those truly peculiar beasts, basically a mini Christian camp with a bit of a corporate focus. It seems mainly to be an attempt to forge some sense of corporate vision and a sense of belonging to a very diverse bunch of people working in a myriad of projects that rarely interact with each other in a meaningful way. For Oasis these times of envisioning are aspirational, rather than inspirational, if you get my meaning…
The title of this year’s conference was Interdependence.

interdependence logo

The outworking of that theme in most sessions was about loving one another. I guess that makes perfect sense, and in many ways it was simply about ‘what on earth makes us more than just another service provider?’ We are ‘motivated by our Christian faith’, so how does that motivation outwork itself, and how will those who use our services know that we are Christian? Well, I guess, by being loving in what we do…

If I sound a little cynical, I do apologise. The apostle John says that ‘God is love’, and Jesus himself said that we would be known as His followers by how we love each other. This is all undoubtedly important as an emphasis, even if it doesn’t seem like the most dynamic of corporate strategies.

Malcolm Duncan (leader of Faithworks) and Dave Steel (minister of church.co.uk/waterloo) both spoke passionately about loving those around us, especially our colleagues, and seeing that love drive us out to those that need it most. The overarching message seemed to me to be ‘this can’t just be about work; this must be more than just a job; we have to be more than just another charity service provider’.  Very worthy, if only we can live it out in practice, both as an organisation and as individuals…


Malcolm reiterated one of the great challenges of stepping out in active Christian faith. He said: “we are told you love our neighbours as we love ourselves, not as we would like them to love us. We need to be able to love ourselves, to love as we have been called to.”

He went on to share some personal reasons why he had found it so hard to love himself in the past (which I won’t share here), and to talk about the need for us to be open to receiving God’s love for us. This for me is such a big challenge, and where we as Christians so easily fall down. We find it hard to love ourselves, to believe we have worth. We struggle to interact positively with others, to stand up confidently in front of a stranger, because we so often feel worthless…

I know some people who doubt the legitimacy of waiting to receive God’s love for us before we step out to touch the live of those who don’t know Christ. They feel that if we wait for this we will never act. Y’know, there is a danger of that being the case. But how can we demonstrate the love of God to people (as we have undoubtedly been called to), if we are not sure of it ourselves?

I believe that one of the main reasons that people find it hard to believe in Jesus in our society is that too often we are not transformed by our own message. How can people believe that “…God so loved the world…” if we don’t act like we believe He so loves us? As Malcolm said on Tuesday, we are called to minister “out of [our] brokenness into brokenness”, not acting like we have it sorted, but receiving the transformation of the message we preach.

Lord, help us receive your love,
love ourselves
so we can love others as you love us

2 thoughts on “If I have not love…

  1. ummm… :-$ maybe?
    I’ve worked in the Christian charity sector since graduating, so I would have a great deal of difficulty differentiating between Christian-charity lingo and general management lingo… MSWord doesn’t have a problem with ‘Outworking’, so it makes me think that it isn’t a specifically Christian word…
    Looking at the definition – I think it would be uses 2 and 3… to carry to conclusion, to outdo in workmanship… I think where I have used it before is in something like “the outworking of our ethos and values in practice” – ie, how what we *say* we believe is carried through in reality.
    In other words: it may be jargon, but its (semi)legitimate in terms of english usage! 😉

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