Thrive: Loving – Allison Kentle


Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
—Matthew 22:37-40

Love God with all that you are and love others as you love yourself. Having this kind of love takes courage. Living out this kind of love means that I am no longer the center. I must live a life of openness with open eyes, an open heart, and an open mind. My eyes must be open, and I must be aware so that I see the needs around me. My heart must be open so I can empathize. My mind must be open so that I am active on behalf of God and others.

I hate to admit it, but most of the time my vision is clouded by my looking out for myself. I often fail to see needs around me because I am not looking for them so I must be intentional. Loving God and loving others requires intentionality. We actually must think through our actions. We need to know why we do things. Loving does not happen by accident. Selfishness, however, does. My personal default is not to thoughtfully consider others. I tend to think about myself.

You may struggle as well. My challenge to you (and to me) is to open your eyes. Look carefully and deeply at the things around you. Recognize how your actions effect God, others, and even creation. Our actions send a message to others around us. We must think through what we do. I must think through what I do.

Here are a few situations in which I have wrestled lately:
• At preteen camp, I watched girls from another church get up an hour and a half early so they could shower, straighten their hair, and put on makeup—all in preparation for a day outside in the hot Oklahoma sun. I wish these young girls could know how beautiful they are, and I wondered, am I modeling a good example for them? Am I showing them how to love themselves and to love others?
• At camp, I see piles of plastic plates and Styrofoam cups thrown away at every meal. Does loving God mean that we are to take care of the earth God created? What words should I use, what actions should I take to help others know that loving God also means loving God’s creation?

How do I show love to God, others, and creation in situations like these? How would you? How would all our lives change if we took on a thoughtful loving approach in our interactions with God, others, and creation?

Allison_Kentle_smAllison Kentle serves as minister to students and families at University Baptist Church in Shawnee, Oklahoma and is passionate about youth ministry. Allison received a Master of Divinity degree from Truett Theological Seminary. She enjoys being creative, reading, and spending time with her husband, Jarris. They are expecting their first child in November.

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