I don't believe in dinosaurs, like at all. I don't think they ever existed. I think the bones are like gold — a fun surprise in the ground. Do you think that's crazy? Buckle up.
I also don't believe in rules. I mean, they're fine for other people, but not for me. It's actually a really great way to live until people do things I don't like. Then I want them to have all the rules — my rules, of course.
I've been thinking about 1 Peter 4 a lot lately, especially verses 8-11. They are the "love, welcome, serve, teach" verses. What got my attention was the order. What if the order matters?
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
Can you think of someone you'd like to teach a lesson to? I can think of several people. I bet you can, too.
And that's fine; I can teach them a lesson.
But first, I need to love them. Even the parts of them that I hate. (Gulp.)
Then, once I love them, I need to welcome them. I need to make sure they know they belong no matter what. That, without changing anything about who they are, or doing what I want them to do, they still fit. (Gulp.)
Once I love them and welcome them, then I have to serve them. I have to intentionally go out of my way to do things for them — things that cost me time, or money, or status. (Double gulp.)
I wonder, if I followed this pattern, would I learn more than I teach? I bet I would.
I bet I'd learn that people are doing their best.
I bet I'd learn that people do all kinds of skits to get people like them — to fit. Because then, if they face rejection, it's not the real them anyway.
I bet I'd learn that my rules I'm trying to get people to follow aren't the most important thing.
I bet I'd learn that dinosaurs are still not real.
What would you learn if you followed the love, welcome, serve, teach model?