"Love one another" (John 13:34).
Immediately after the service a woman pushed her way to the front. "Pastor", she said, "I disagree very strongly with a word you used". She continued, "You said that all were invited to stay for the fellowship meal after the Church, and then you referred to this as an agape meal."
"Yes", I replied, "that is what I called it".
"But agape is God's love. You're cheapening it by acting as if its something we can do in the church dinning hall".
This woman correctly understood that agape was one of the Greek words for love, but she seriously misunderstood what it truly implied. Often in the New Testament the noun agape (as well as its verb form agapao) was used to refer to God's great love for us. But it was also used to describe the type of love we are to have for Him and for one another. In fact, Jesus tells one person that the whole point of the law was to love (agapao) God with all our hearts and love (agapao) our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31). Elsewhere he commanded Christians to "love (agapao) one another" (John 13:34). The apostle John goes so far as to declare that "anyone who does not love (agapao) his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen" (1 John 4:20). The whole point of the Gospel is to make us like Christ. We are to demonstrate outwardly the love of God that exists inwardly.
After explaining all this the woman was still in disagreement. She stated, "I still think your cheapening this word by using it for a meal".
Smiling, I replied, "Really? Did you know that this is a biblical term? In the letter of Jude (verse 12) he refers to a meal that was shared by believers in New Testament times. Believers would gather together to sing, prayer, meditate on Jesus, and simply enjoy each others company. And do you know what that verse in Jude calls this supper?---its called an agape meal!"
How easy it is for us to claim we love God, all the while cheapening the relationships we have with others. Your involvement with brothers and sisters in Christ is not something that is on the periphery of your spiritual journey--it is part of its very foundation!
Take the great wonderful agape love that God has for you and share it with others.