One of my favorite Ben Rector songs is off his new album Brand New. The song is called “More Like Love.”
It ends like this:
I find the farther that I climb
There’s always another line
Of mountain tops
It’s never going to stop
And the more of anything I do
The thing that always ends up true
Is getting what I want
Will never be enough
So I just wanna look more like love
I just wanna look more like love
This whole world is spinning crazy
I can’t quite keep up
It’s the one thing around here
That we don’t have quite enough of
So I just wanna look a little more
It’s a beautifully-arranged song, with piano mixing well with strings in the background and Ben’s fantastic voice. But the songwriting is the best here. It’s penned with a heartfelt honesty and vulnerability that’s beginning to populate modern music, and I love that, as (all seven of) you who read this blog regularly will know.
I read Titus this morning as I ate my sausage and egg sandwich before showering and heading to work. One of the themes of Titus is “good works” – that phrase itself or a slight variation is mentioned five times in the text of the letter:
- “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works…” (2:7)
- “…our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” (2:14)
- “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work…” (3:1)
- “…I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works…” (3:8)
- “And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.” (3:14)
Pondering the emphasis on “good works” made me think of my life and the good works that I’m doing. Or am I doing any good works? What does “good works” look like? What’s the basis for my good works?
Sometimes I feel like our “good works” often become our ability to not do bad things. And I don’t think that’s the point of pursuing obedience, of pursuing Christ. Pursuing good works is about intentionally setting our mind to doing good things for other people, to honor God, to serve the world.
And that’s where Ben Rector’s song becomes a good tentpole for our aim. What does love look like?
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
This kind of attitude is at the base of every good work. Against love, there is no law. Pursuing loving others is the highest of callings, and it’s the calling we have as Christians.
It’s being patient and kind with one another. It’s pushing aside pride and boastfulness. It’s putting others first, rejoicing at what is true, bearing, believing, hoping, enduring. It’s echoing Christ’s love of us towards others.
If we pursue those things, we’ll start to look a little more like love.