As a continuation of the "Campaign for CommUNITY", Head of High School and Assistant Head of School Tawanna Rusk shares her thoughts on how to best #LoveOneAnother — the theme for this school year. By modeling our lives after Jesus's example, we can be united as one in the body of Christ, while appreciating our unique God-given talents and differences.
This year, the MPCS family is committed to the words found in John 15:12:
"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you."
In order to do this fully, we must first examine our own walks with Christ. Are you living in such a way as to win others to the Kingdom of God? It’s a question that, when thoughtfully considered, pierces the heart. It’s a question that, in 1 Corinthians, the apostle Paul addresses, challenging all Christians to imitate Christ and, by so doing, save many.
"Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings." (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)
"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks, or the church of God— even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved." (1 Corinthians 10:31-33)
"Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." (1 Corinthians 11:1)
These scriptures are too often misunderstood. Paul does not claim to be a chameleon, nor does he proclaim that he is doing the saving. Paul understands his charge is to love and share the message of the Gospel, allowing the Holy Spirit to do the work. His message of the gospel does not change. However, he understands, as Jesus did, that every person may need unique explanations or to be ministered to differently. Jesus showed compassion, challenged people, healed people, and performed miracles. Sometimes he told parables; other times he was direct. Jesus ministered in a variety of ways because he understood people's needs.
Paul repeatedly states that his aim is to win people for the Kingdom of God. As Christian education leaders, it is our job to serve, live, and love like Jesus to win students for Christ. Motivated by love, we must learn to express deep care and concern for every person that God places in our paths. As mentioned before, we are called to truly love one another, the way Christ demonstrated for us.
Pictured above are a few of the "Campaign for Community" banner artists: C. Pulley (Grade 11), C. Monroe (Grade 10), H. Abernathy (Grade 12), M. Westbrook (Grade 10), C. Finch (Grade 9), N. Roberts (Grade 12), B. Hawkins (Grade 11).
As Christians, we are to see each individual as created in God's image, unique in personality, divinely gifted, and worthy of love and respect. Approaching all people with this posture of imitating Christ will open the door to communication and ultimately help plant seeds that the Holy Spirit can bring to maturity.
LOVE IN ACTION
How do you live a life that imitates Christ? Some might say that the best offense is a strong defense, but we must be on the offense in this game of saving souls. Christ was not passive; he came down from heaven to initiate a relationship with us. We must love in action and by our words seek out, overcome struggles, fellowship, dine, and converse with all types of people – not just those who mirror our appearance, speech, or thoughts – to teach everyone about Christ's saving grace.
There is only one way to conquer the struggles plaguing humanity: Holy love. Paul writes about this Holy love in Romans and Galatians.
"Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not covet,’ and whatever other commands there may be, are summed up in this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." (Romans 13:8-1)
"You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’" (Galatians 5:13-14)
In these verses, Paul is reiterating what Jesus had said, taught, and lived out. Paul implores us: “Do it like me. Live, talk, love, and forgive like me as I follow Christ.” Suppose we, as Christ-followers, would be so courageous as to commit to a life that looks like Christ's. Oh, what a world this would be! Would you go on the offense to win and save souls? Would you invite others to imitate you as you imitate Christ? This would be a picture of how to love one another the way Christ loves us all equally.
Keep 1 Corinthians 9:23 at the forefront of our mind: "I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings." May we all rejoice for eternity that we, as a diverse MPCS CommUNITY, lived a life that won many for the Kingdom.
Tawanna Rusk serves as the MPCS Head of High School and Assistant Head of School.
Thank you to Craig Bowler, pastor of Sanctuary in Him Church, for his sermon, which sparked many of these thoughts.
Building CommUNITY is at the core of MPCS. Click here to learn more about the "Campaign for CommUNITY" at Mount Paran Christian School.