Skip to content ↓

A 93-Million-Mile Love

A 93 Million Mile Love

Christians are called to love. We know this. We’ve been loved by God so we can love in return. We display proof of our salvation when we stop living self-focused lives and begin living others-focused lives. We show our love and appreciation for God in the way we turn our love outward to become “zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14). We are accustomed to thinking about this as individuals, and we know our local churches are meant to be communities of people who love one another. But there is also something to be said for entire congregations loving other congregations.

We see this modeled in the New Testament, such as when the churches of Macedonia begged for the opportunity to help out another needy congregation: “for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part” (2 Corinthians 8:2). We see it another time in one of those same Macedonian churches—the church at Thessalonica. When Paul writes to them, he says, “Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more” (1 Thessalonians 4:9-10).

Paul seems to be saying something like this: “I’ve been in touch with other churches in your region, and they’ve told me about your generosity. You have been extending love to them. You have been ensuring they know that your congregation loves their congregation.” The love of Christian to Christian within that one congregation had overflowed into love for other congregations. In fact, Paul can gauge the intensity of the love of the believers in Thessalonica by the manifestations of their love in cities across the region.

They had a 93-million-mile love that radiated far beyond themselves.

It’s like the sun on a hot summer day. You stand outside and feel the heat of the sun on your face and think something like this: “If the sun is this hot here on earth, I can only imagine how hot it is 93 million miles away on the surface of the sun.” And Paul is saying, “If your love reaches all the way to Berea and Ephesus and other churches across your region, I can only imagine how strong that love is right there in your church.” They had a 93-million-mile love that radiated far beyond themselves.

So perhaps we should be thinking about how our congregations can express love to other congregations. This may be through supporting them financially, setting aside some money to support a church that is badly missing its budget or a church that is attempting to build a new building. This may be through inviting those other congregations to shared events or to prayer meetings meant to pray for the entire city or region. This may be through asking those other churches how you can be praying for them in particular. There are a hundred ways that one congregation can express love to another.

As whole congregations love other whole congregations, we will be proving that the love within our churches is too strong to contain, too intense to remain within its four walls. We will, like the church of Thessalonica, be proving that we “have been taught by God to love one another…” and our challenge will be “to do this more and more.”


  • Lets Hear It For the Second Parents

    Let’s Hear It For the Second Parents

    While today we tend to associate step-parents with divorce, in previous centuries they were almost exclusively associated with death and with either widow- or widowerhood. In an era in which lifespans were shorter and, therefore, a greater number of parents died while their children were still young, there was a distinct and honored role for…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (June 17)

    A La Carte: Honor good fathers and bad fathers alike? / Don’t give up, dad / How I respond to pride month / 5 myths about the pro-life movement / A seminar on biblical counseling / How do I know if I’m one of the elect? / Kindle deals / and more.

  • The Glorious End without the Difficult Means

    The Glorious End without the Difficult Means

    Just as Olympic athletes cannot realistically expect to win a gold medal unless they strictly discipline themselves toward victory, Christians cannot hope to prevail in the Christian life unless they take a serious, disciplined approach to it. Yet lurking in the background is always the temptation to hope that we can have the result of…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    Weekend A La Carte (June 15)

    A La Carte: Learn to rest in God’s justice / 3 reasons why your small group is not a church / How can I be a godly father? / Gender in the void / Are images of Christ OK? / The getting of wisdom / and more.

  • Making Good Return

    Making Good Return

    I don’t think I am overstating the matter when I say that this has the potential to be one of the most important books you will read. It’s a book that may shape years of your life and transform the way you carry out one of the key roles God assigns to you…

  • A La Carte Friday 2

    A La Carte (June 14)

    A La Carte: 3 steps to find your voice / 7 things good dads say / One day leads to another / Let’s stop hyper-spiritualizing counseling / Enjoying the many flavors of the Word / What I wish you understood about the ethnic-specific church / and more.