Melvyn Tan
October 16, 2013 — By tanmelvyn@gmail.com

What Is Love

[blockquote source=”1 Timothy 1:5 (NIV)“]The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart, good conscience, and sincere faith.[/blockquote] A while back when I was facilitating a session for the senior management of a school, we asked them to list down the attributes of a leader. Bearing in mind that these are […]

[blockquote source=”1 Timothy 1:5 (NIV)“]The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart, good conscience, and sincere faith.[/blockquote]

A while back when I was facilitating a session for the senior management of a school, we asked them to list down the attributes of a leader.

Bearing in mind that these are really individuals who have made not only a significant contribution in their career, they have also demonstrated mastery in their competencies as teachers.

Their lists of attributes were remarkably focused on the abilities of a leader. Some examples of their lists were:

  • Competent
  • Good communicator
  • Visionary
  • Innovative
  • Creative
  • Risk-taker

I decided to seize this moment to ask that they reflect their answers. The guiding question I gave them was: think of a leader that you admire and reflect on what’s good about this leader.

After a couple of minutes of reflection, one of them came to the realisation that we have been so focused on the competencies attributes that we’ve forgotten to mention the virtues of a leader!

In fact, in the marketplace, good intentions are hardly even noticed.  What matters most is in fact your ability to comply, to perform, and to meet (or exceed) certain expectations.  In some settings, that is all that is required.

However, that is changing albeit at a slow pace.  People are slowly recognising that there is little meaning in the work that they do, if they simply just have to comply with the rules or to just be able to perform.  In short, you are not happy just to be able to meet expectations.

You want to be a part of something that matters.  You want to know that in the next decade or so, what you do matters.  That it contributes to some bigger cause, that it fulfil some bigger promise, that it leads to somewhere, somehow, someone being better off because of what you did.

And your starting point would be to ask yourself a question: do I love what I do?  What does love means?  From today’s verse, we know that love comes from three parts that it all deals with your internal self.  It is the part where it is not visible to others.  The part where no one else can see, unless you gave them permission.  The part that only God and you know.

The three parts are heart, conscience, and faith:

  • Heart: do everything with a pure heart.  You know deep inside that when this is done, it will not only benefit you, but will benefit all those whom you’ve helped, as well as a positive impact on all the people who are around all those that you’ve helped!  Ask yourself, what is the problem that you want to solve?  It is not, I have this solution, how can I market it in such a way that others will buy it?  In my mission, Focus on Jesus 365, that was something I had to deal with for a long time.  I was asking myself, how do I do this?  How can I make money out of it?  Where the right questions to ask was, How can this help make a difference to the lives of others?  What problems can I help solve with this approach?  How can people benefit from this?
  • Conscience: do it with a good conscience.  You want to know that at the end of the day when you lie on your bed, you’d be able to answer the question – did I do the right thing?  Is my conscience clear?  Did I speak with sincerity?  Did I ensure that I was genuinely making a contribution?  Or am I just trying to pull a fast one?  Honestly, some days when I am not so “in the flow”, I just want to get this out so that it is off my back.  And I am truly sorry for when I have done that.
  • Faith: do it with sincere faith.  Faith is sometimes mistaken for religion.  Faith and religion are not one and the same. You and I can be of the same “religion”, but our faith may differ.  Faith is doing something and expecting that a specific outcome will prevail.  It is like, we all have faith that when we pray, God listens.  Whether He responds in the way that we expect Him to is another different issue altogether.  But to have sincere faith is to mean that we have genuine faith.  This faith has to be authentic.  It has to be real.  We cannot fake it.  One thing we must do is to encourage our brothers and sisters to have faith in the LORD, and not faith in some systems or processes that men have created.  The faith is that God will deliver, always, if we abide by the principles.

Father we pray that You guide us in all that we do, we do it with love.  We do it with a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith.  In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.