“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” (Ephesians 3:17-18)

Almost every American has had an experience raking leaves at some point in his or her life. It’s just something that we all have to deal with every fall. Raking leaves can be a tiring task, but it is not a difficult one due to the fact that leaves are easily moved. There’s nothing holding them to the ground, so they can be raked up rather easily. If you had to go outside and rake up some trees, that’d be a different story because trees have roots. Trees are deeply rooted in the ground and as a result are nearly impossible to move.

God tells us that just as trees are stable because they are rooted in the ground, we are to be rooted in love. These roots don’t come from our own love for others, as our love can too often be an unreliable thing. Even the demonstration of our love through our acts of service is temporary. More leaves will fall to the ground, other parts of a house will fall into disrepair, paint will chip away and weeds will sprout again. We are rooted in a love that is greater and infinitely more stable than our own generosity, goodwill and emotions. We are rooted in the love of God. God’s amazing love was demonstrated most clearly when He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross and rise again to pay the price for our sin. Our love is sometimes shallow and temporary, but the love of Christ is “wide and long and high and deep”. How great it is to be rooted in that love! These roots are not something that we need to create on our own, but were given to us at our Baptism and continue to grow through the work of the Holy Spirit. Because we’re rooted in God’s amazing love, we can’t help but serve and share that love with others. A tree is able to produce fruit due to the nutrients it gets from its roots. In the same way, we are able to produce fruit by serving others only through the love that we get from our roots in the love of Christ.

We serve not to earn God’s love, but as a response to it. Because God served us through His Son Jesus Christ, we now serve our neighbors in order to point to Jesus. We can be thankful for every opportunity that we get to serve, whether planned or unplanned, long or short, easy or hard, close or far away. All these opportunities to serve others are also a chance to share the love of Christ with them as it overflows out of our lives through the Holy Spirit.

Prayer Starter: Jesus, we thank You for setting for us the perfect example of service by giving Your life for us on the cross to take away our sins. Thank You for our neighbors, both near and far, and for the privilege You give us to serve and get to know them. Let our service to them always be a response to You serving us. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!