Love ... a truly excellent way

My wife and I are both first generation Christians from difficult backgrounds. We grew up in homes where violence and abuse was the norm. God transformed our lives through His Spirit – and in that transformation, we both agreed: we would raise our children differently. Our prayer was that our children would be raised with immeasurable love. That they would get a glimpse of God’s love because they were loved. 

As we grew in God’s love, we began to understand the mystery of Jesus: “But God demonstrated his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

That mysterious love grew in us and we began to see how we could choose to love beyond our own family, into the family of God and, as the family of God loved, into our community. 

When Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he encouraged them to seek the gifts of the Spirit: teaching, hospitality, caring, healing, interpreting prophetic messages and many more. But at the end of 1 Corinthians 12 he writes: “And yet I will show you a more excellent way.” And then he takes us into 1 Corinthians 13… an amazingly beautiful passage on God’s vision for how we live. Because love never fails. 

Let me repeat that: love never fails.  

2020/2021 was a year of immense disappointment. COVID-19 invaded every home, every family. Fear, uncertain, broken relationships, economic loss and so much more. It was a tough year. Yet, when love surrounded the family, there was strength. 

AsONE Foundation seeks to do all things in love, always seeking the best, urging our colleagues, friends and family to a more excellent way. I am so grateful for my part in this movement, because AsONE is giving me an outlet to perform what Rick refers to as “harvest initiatives.” These are amazing projects that shower love on our community… affordable housing, community housing with a vision for social support, reformation of whole communities from brokenness to wholeness. 

In his letter to the Colossions, Paul writes: Above all, put on love—the perfect bond of unity. Colossians 3:14 HCSB

Paul used the word for love that Christians often call “agape”. It refers to brotherly love, love that leads to benevolence, good will to one another. This love is the foundation for mature followers of Christ coming together in unity. 

Perfect love does not mean “flawless” but it means mature. It refers to the desire that we hope for the best for others. That’s easy to do with people we like or click with – but what about that person who irritates us? The perfect bond of unity means that we put aside our own opinion and look to the best of the whole. 

The word bond means ligaments. Isn’t that just perfect? Ligaments in our body act as perfect connectors. Imagine strong, resilient straps that link our joints, make them flexible and stable. They hold our bones together. Without ligaments we would just be a jumble of unconnected bones. Ligaments link the complex bone structure together so we can work in perfect harmony. We can walk, use our fingers to pick up tiny particles, use the strength of our legs to jump over barriers. Our bodies are a miraculous structure of bones, joints and ligaments working together.

That is the allegory Paul uses. Just like the body, the body of Christ, joined together with the perfect bond, like the ligaments of our body, we work together as one. What an amazing picture.

AsONE is an amazing vehicle for good. Inspired by our for-profit investment company, Summers&Co, we realized the power of impact investment. At the very heart of our work is the image of what happens when like-minded men and women joined by the ligaments of good works and Christ’s love, act in love, bringing reformation to communities that have eroded. 

One of the things we do really well is work together with the stakeholders of a community – no matter where they stand in the social hierarchy – looking for the best ideas. We call these visioning sessions. They are opportunities to bring people together and imagine the possibilities. During a visioning session, we work to hear God’s vision to serve in a more excellent way.