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Love Comes First

Posted on: May 2nd, 2013 by Laurie Coombs 10 Comments

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I received a letter from Anthony (the man who murdered my dad) a couple weeks ago. In it, he said, “I also know you feel as I do, if only one person read [our testimony] and came to Jesus because of it, because of our pain, tears, repentance, and forgiveness, all of it was worth it.”

Anthony is right. And He got me thinking.

If our story saves one––only one––I do believe my efforts to share what God has done is all worth it. Yet, I also believe Jesus called me to share this story with many. In fact, I believe I’m called to write a book about it.

What It Takes to Publish Today

When writing a book, you hear a lot about the need to build a “platform” or establish a “tribe” of followers who engage with you both on your blog and on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest…) who will then become your audience for your proposed book. Even though all this “platform building” feel like self-promotion––which makes me ridiculously uncomfortable––I’ve been doing it, nonetheless, attempting to promote Jesus instead of myself.

Building a platform is a necessary step toward publishing.

But it can so quickly become about the numbers. How many people are reached with each post? How many visitors to my blog each day, week, month? How many Twitter followers? How many Facebook likes? And the list goes on.

But what gets lost amid the numbers is love. Each of those numbers represents a soul. A soul Jesus loves and wants to help. We are all called to love one another. We’re all called to minister to one another. It may look different for some people than for others, but the call is all the same. Love.

My Followers?

And here’s the thing: My “followers” are not my followers, they’re Jesus’ followers. [Tweet that] A sweet friend pointed that out to me the other night, and I appreciated the perspective.

This issue is not a new one, either. It was found long before the emergence of social media and platform building. The Corinthian church faced the same problem. In 1 Corinthians 1:12-14 and 1:17 Paul says,

What I mean is that each one of you says, ‘I follow Paul,’ or ‘I follow Apollos,’ or ‘I follow Cephas,’ or ‘I follow Christ.’ Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? …For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

It is Jesus who needs to be center. We don’t need Laurie followers, we need Jesus followers!

All You Need is Love (Love Before Mission)

My calling––and your calling too––needs to come from a place of love, for without love there is no real impact. [Tweet that] Sure, some may be intrigued by our stories, but the impact will be little without love.

And I confess that I have lost the love I had at first. But I’m praying for grace. I need a complete paradigm shift to take place through the mercy and grace of God.

It’s not about numbers. It’s not about me. It’s not even about my story.

It’s about Jesus.

It’s about loving God and loving people. Sound familiar? It’s the Great Commandment Jesus spoke of in both Matthew and Mark.

The Great Commandment comes before anything else. Yet, it is followed by the Great Commission.

The Great Commission is our mission in this world. Jesus tells us, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).

We do have a mission––to share the message of the Gospel with the world. But the mission doesn’t come before the commandment to love. [Tweet that]

The cart doesn’t come before the horse!

Love is first. Always. [Tweet that]

Yet, we have a job to do. And for some of us that job may require the use of social media, but it is all to be motivated by love. Just as the title of Bob Goff’s book says, “Love Does.” (This is a great book, by the way, one of my favorites!)

I’ve somehow gotten things a little backwards lately. And for that I am sorry, I repent, and I pray that all I do is derived out of my love for Jesus and for His people. If you could join me in this prayer, I’d greatly appreciate it. The prayer of many is powerful, and I want to get this one right.

Back to what Anthony said. If I can impact only one through my love, it will all be worth it.

{Love comes first.}

Question: Have you experienced this? Any words of wisdom you would like to share? Share in the comments.

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  • Linda Tang

    A much-needed post that I could relate to, Laurie…I so appreciate your perspective. My passion for writing and telling a story now has this required platform building piece which I have grown to resent at times. I just want to write my story, not get caught up on how to grow the numbers and followers for a blog or FB page. But when that one reader is encouraged by what God has to say to them and wants to follow Him, that is the biggest benefit that can come out of our stories, posts and words. His Word does not return void (Isaiah) and if God wants to use me so others can hear His voice and hear His message of truth and encouragement, than that thumb’s-up icon is so much more than a like for me, but as you said, a like and a following for Jesus.

    • I can certainly relate, Linda! There are times I, too, simply want to write my story.

      It’s been quite a transition for me mentally to embrace platform building, and I have had some serious mind-shifts to come to the point that I am now. I now see my blog and social media presence as a means to reach others with God’s message. Though originally my platform was simply a means to an end (publishing the book I believe I’m called to write).

      I now enjoy blogging (but I didn’t at first), and I hope and pray that the words we Christian writers collectively write help point to the only one who is worthy of our attention and not to us! I love what you said about His Word not returning void! If we hold true to Him and faithfully share the messages put on our hearts, I believe He will use us to help many 🙂

      Praying for you and your platform, Linda!

  • Laurie, I appreciated your perspective: “My “followers” are not my followers, they’re Jesus’ followers.” And applying
    1 Corinthians 1:12-14 to this area. Platform building in uncomfortable to me too. This was great. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you for your encouraging words, Debbie! Platform building can be difficult at times, but I do believe (and I think you’ll agree) that it’s a necessary step toward sharing the message God entrusts to us. Praying for you and your message to bring many closer to Jesus.

  • Jill Beran

    Great post Laurie! I’m sure many can relate! I love your friends words about people not following you but Jesus! Powerful words!! Thanks for your honesty…definitely helps share the love!

  • Laurie, you are so right on and so humble. I love your perspective. It’s helped me to refocus. Thank you!!

    • Not sure about the humble thing. I, certainly, struggle with pride. But I honestly think we all need this reminder! Praying for us all to keep the right perspective!