Greater Love, Greater Works

April 5, 2022
Personal Growth

February 2020: Three weekly youth services, 14 weekly worship services, monthly worship nights, monthly Victory Weekends, quarterly Equip+Establish classes, plus several outreaches and events within the week—serving 18,000 people and run by less than eighty staff members, a thousand Victory group leaders, and almost three thousand ministry volunteers.   

This was life as we knew it at Victory Fort Bonifacio, our local church in the Philippines. Our church location was abuzz with activity every single day. We thought it would only grow bigger and better. After all, in 2019, we received a word from the Lord in Isaiah 54:2,

“Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes.”

God could only have meant expansion and growth, right?

And then COVID-19 came and the world went on lockdown.

The streets, the buildings, the chairs—all became empty.

Then the losses came…

We lost time to celebrate major milestones with friends and family.

We lost connection with our most intimate relationships.

We lost jobs, dreams, and opportunities.

We even lost loved ones, without the benefit of hugging them for the last time.

Just when you thought the sea had grown calmer and you could finally stand up and recover, another crash of waves would come knocking you off your feet. When would it ever end? 

March 2022: Church services have reached 75% capacity and many are coming back to be involved in corporate worship, in volunteering, in leading Victory groups at home and in restaurants and coffee shops. Church events and activities are slowly building up.

It is tempting to dive straight back to the busyness of pre-pandemic. But inside of us is a part that still grieves for lost time, deprived connection, missed opportunities, forgotten dreams, and perished loved ones. Most of us are in different stages of denial, anger, and depression. As much as we want to go back to the same passion and zeal of our pre-pandemic church life, there is a lot of emotion beneath the surface, threatening to engulf us in rage or sadness with the slightest trigger.

Maybe you’ve been yearning to be on fire once more, but the pain in your heart is too heavy.

Maybe you’ve been numbly observing others move on with their lives as if the past two years didn’t happen, and you’re still grappling with confusion and fear.

Maybe you’ve been doubting you’re in God’s good, pleasing, and perfect will, when each day has been mundane.

And then you recall the words of Jesus Christ to his disciples when they were having their last meal together,

“Truly, truly, I tell you, whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I am doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12)

What did He mean and how can it be real to us who are still hurting, who feel numb, who want to take things slow? Take heart, though at first glance it may seem like Jesus Christ is expecting us to do more signs and wonders than He did, to offer our blood, sweat, and tears to toiling for the kingdom, and to reach out to hundreds or thousands more than He ever did, the following passages tell a different story:

I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to be with you forever—
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
The one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him.
Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you.
As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Remain in My love.
Love one another as I have loved you.

Jesus Christ’s calling for us to greater works is primarily an invitation to love and be loved.

He never expected us to strive to perform, to run after numbers, or to have a checklist of Christan activities. He invites us to intimacy with Him, to overflow in His love, to tap on the Holy Spirit’s power as we obey Him, and to build deep connections with others. 

Only then can we see that it is Him who does a deep work in our hearts, so that our changed hearts and redeemed lives can tell the world of His unconditional love and supernatural redemption.

Related posts