What’s love got to do with it? This phrase was made famous in by a popular Tina Turner song that offered a rather jaundiced view of love. Quite frankly, while I enjoyed the music, I found the lyrics made me sad. Something had happened to completely darken what should be a bright and prominent emotion - not something second-hand.
1 John 3 offers us an amazing insight into what love should be and also what it should not. Rather than repeating the entire chapter here, I will leave you to open your Bible and read it.
Done? Good, let’s start with a story.
A man was traveling in a hot air balloon when he realized he was lost. He reduced altitude and spotted a woman below. He descended a bit more and shouted, "Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am." The woman below replied, "You’re in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You’re between 50 and 51 degrees north latitude and between 79 and 80 degrees west longitude."
"You must be an engineer," said the balloonist.
"I am," replied the woman, "How did you know?"
"Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is, technically correct, but I have no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I’m still lost. Frankly, you have not been much help at all. If anything, you have simply delayed my trip."
The woman below responded, "You must be in Management."
"I am," replied the balloonist, "but how did you know?"
"Well," said the woman, "you don’t know where you are or where you’re going. You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise, which you have no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it’s my fault."
Have you ever been the man in the balloon, or the lady on the ground?
Does it help anyone if we start blaming others for situations we are in, or taking offense because someone else has a different perspective on an issue? Even worse is when we let those differences of opinion become grounds for discord and anger.
Every day we read the news stories of people not being loved; of people are living with hatred, which our reading equates to murder in their hearts. Why are so many overcome with “Cain Syndrome”, are we doomed or can we really love one another?
I am going to share another story, not to build myself up in any way, but rather in the hopes of illustrating that we are not doomed and that love is not a second hand emotion.
A few days ago, my sister called to ask if I was able to come to Hamilton and help Dad prepare his apartment for some work that needed to be done. My brother couldn't help as he was just recovering from surgery and my sister was simply running out of steam.
It would have been so easy to blame a busy schedule and leave her to deal with it. But this is family and when family needs help, you help! I dropped everything and drove to Hamilton first thing Saturday morning. On arrival, I went straight to Dad’s place and got the situation briefing, then rolled up my sleeves and started to work.
Having done a few moves in my time, packing up was something quite simple for me and I estimated that this Type A, goal oriented, “get ‘er done, Engineer could complete the task in less than 24 hours and be one my way home by Monday. God had other plans.
As I was working away, I sensed Dad was getting more and more upset. I couldn't’ figure it out. After all we had a deadline to meet and that was paramount - there was no time for this. I could see my Monday departure slipping away. Then it hit me - you selfish man in the balloon! This situation was not Dad’s fault and the Monday deadline was self imposed - we actually had until Wednesday. I was packing stuff, but to Dad they were memories and keepsakes of a time when he and his bride we both young and eagerly looking to the future. Now he spends many of his days alone.
I stopped packing, sat down and we talked and we talked. It is now Tuesday evening and not only is the task complete, but Dad and I had an enjoyable time together. Tomorrow, I will pick him up and we’ll travel northwards where he will spend the next couple of weeks with us, away from the stress and upheaval of living in a half packed apartment.
What’s love got to do with it? It caused me to help someone else.
What’s love got to do with it? It helped me look beyond myself and understand another’s pain.
What’s love got to do with it? It taught me to listen.
What’s love got to do with it? EVERYTHING!