Do our actions have lasting effect?
Our daily lives are filled with many actions. Most of them affect the current moment, some may affect the future for a certain period of time, but few remain long term or have an eternal effect.
We get up each morning, shower, brush our teeth, comb our hair, eat breakfast, go to work, break for lunch, come home in the evening, have dinner, read the paper, watch the news, help our kids with their homework, attend an evening meeting for some civic or church related purpose, watch some television and go to bed with the expectation of restarting a similar cycle the next morning. On the weekend, our actions may vary to include some household chores, taking children to sporting or school activities, going to church and engaging in some relaxing entertainment.
In the course of all of these many actions which are here today and gone tomorrow, we will have the opportunity to love and serve others.
St. Paul has a glorious insight in his first letter to the Corinthians when talking about proper worship and use of the spiritual gifts in chapters 11-13. After describing the various spiritual gifts of wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, prophesy and tongues, and how they build up the church, he declares that none of them are as important as love. He then proceeds to give a beautiful definition of love and concludes that all of these other actions will at some point pass away, but love will remain.
He says, “Love never fails.” Acts of love never die. They have a lasting quality. They are remembered and extend into eternity.
The committed love of a married man and woman that result in children being born in the image and likeness of God with eternal souls; the loving care of those children into faith-filled adults; the encouraging word to a work colleague being harassed by a boss; assisting a disabled person in crossing the street; showing generosity to a homeless person or friend in need; forgiving a loved one who has wronged you – all of these acts of love have a life beyond their occurrence. They have a ripple effect that just keep moving outward in infinite 360 degree rings, often having impact and begetting acts of love by others that we will never know about.
How ironic that God in his love and mercy forgets repented sin, but remembers acts of love forever!
We strive for meaning and purpose in our lives. We seek achievement and recognition in our work and professions. All of these actions may be worthwhile for they further God’s assignment that we “work and take care of the garden” of his creation. (Genesis 2:15) Yet, in time the fruit of that work will eventually pass.
However, the acts of love taking place in the course of those achievements and in the context of all the other actions that make up our daily lives will not pass, but will remain in the annuls of God’s kingdom.
These actions of love and our souls will last beyond the current season.