I want to obey Paul’s plea in 1 Thessalonians 5:13 that we “esteem [you] very highly in love (en agape) because of [your] work.” And it is the phrase en agape that I want you to feel most deeply tonight. We esteem you highly in love because of your work. We love you because of your work and the life that gave it birth.
If you renounce all your work, and abandon the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ, we will cease to love you like this. You will become the object of our mercy, but not our delight.
Read that last paragraph over again.
I pray that I, too, have friends who love me enough to love me this way — not in a sentimental way, but with a robust, challenging love. In short, I hope I have friends who love the gospel more than they love me. It’s what we all need.