Love Appeal

Love Appeal

Author: Mark Fenstermacher
June 11, 2021

People in marketing (and everyday conversation) talk about sex appeal but I have been thinking about love appeal this week.

It’s easy to demand from others what we think we have coming to us. I remember a summer evening in North Carolina when a friend and lay leader asked me by what authority I was changing something in the church: “Because the Bishop appointed me and I’m the ordained Elder,” I said. My friend was quiet. And I immediately regretted “pulling rank.”

What would happen if we approached one another—whether it is in a friendship, marriage, parent-child relationship, a work environment or a church meeting—and made our appeal on the basis of love?

In the small letter of Philemon, a slave by the name of Onesimus has run away from his owner and ended up with the apostle Paul. The slave’s master is a Christian leader named Philemon who has opened his home to host a small, growing congregation.

Paul decides to return Onesimus to Philemon. Paul doesn’t order the early Christian leader and slave owner to give Onesimus his freedom, but he appeals to him through love. Paul asks the master to welcome Onesimus back not as a slave but as a “dearly loved brother.”

Even if we have a position of authority or influence, this ancient exchange between a faith leader and a slave owner shows how we can appeal to one another on the basis of love.

“I would rather appeal to you through love. I, Paul - an old man, and now also a prisoner for Christ Jesus, appeal to you for my child Onesimus,” the apostle writes.

How would using love appeal change your marriage, your friendships, or your relationship with your parents/children? How would using love appeal change the way we make decisions in the church (or react to decisions in the church)? How would using love appeal change the way we deal with one another at work or in our political life? Love appeal could change our families, churches, communities and the world overnight.

When you are asking someone for something, or do a difficult thing, good thing, what would it look like for you to use love appeal?

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Our leaders met this week for a planning session, and I am excited about what God is doing in and through First United Methodist. See you Sunday in worship (either online or in-person) at 8:30 or 11:00 as we continue our series After (the COVID) Exile. We’ll look at what we have learned over the last eighteen months.

Coffee service on Sunday mornings also begins this Sunday - we would love to have YOU as a part of the team here at First. 

I am blessed to be sharing the road with you, and I am leaning into our future.

Grace,
Pastor Mark


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