One of the most unique experiences of my life has to be snowshoeing across a frozen alpine lake. Obviously, this did not happen in Georgia. Heather and I were on our honeymoon in Estes Park, Colorado and all the talk was about snowshoeing. We thought, “When in Rome…” So we went to the local outfitter, rented a couple of pair of snowshoes and headed up to a place known as Bear Lake.
Mid-March in the Rockies at 10,000 feet means snow. LOTS of snow. It also means cold. So we dressed accordingly, bundled up with heavy winter coats and multiple layers. When we got to Bear Lake, the temperature was in the low 20’s. We strapped our borrowed snowshoes, and got to work, giving our lungs time to get used to the high altitude, eager for many photo ops, maybe throw a snowball or two.
Something began to happen as we traversed across the frozen landscape – we started getting warm – too warm. It didn’t seem right to be hiking across a frozen lake, on top of six feet of snow, at 10,000 feet, and not be freezing. Against our better logic, the heavy winter coats were removed and we were comfortable for the balance of the afternoon.
I am sure that it had something to do with low humidity and UV exposure at that elevation combined with the strain of snowshoeing at an altitude that our bodies were not yet accustomed to. Regardless of the explanation, it defied common sense to be getting hot in an environment where everything said we should be cold.
Jesus warned his disciples about the last days. He said in Matthew 24 that in the last days, wickedness would increase and the love of many would grow cold. It seems that Jesus is warning about the proportionate relationship between wickedness and our capacity for loving others. As wickedness increases, love decreases. As the world fosters a better environment for evil, the climate for love is destroyed. There is a reason that the area with the highest crime rates are not the friendliest places to live.
In a day when people are talking about global warming, I can’t help but notice another obvious climate change – global cooling. Not in the temperature of the air but in the climate of our relationships. As evil increases, the conducive climate for love diminishes.
The church today has a unique opportunity. We have the opportunity to love when the whole world says not to. Not only do we have the opportunity, we also have the mandate. In a world that is as cold as ice, the church should be taking off her coat. The church’s temperature is not controlled by the culture, but by the Savior. And we serve a loving Savior who has saved us to be a loving people. We should be known by our love and that love should be changing the climate of the places we touch. After all, isn’t that what truly separates the church from the world? It is not our buildings, our programs, or our preaching. It is our love.
How’s your love for others today? Has it cooled? What influences in your life has resulted in the climate change of your heart? Let us not be a part of the “many” whose love has grown cold. Let us love one another when it is not easy. Let us love our neighbor even when the world says we shouldn’t.
Happy Valentine’s Day!