[Editor’s note: The following text is excerpted from a message delivered by Minister Louis Farrakhan. Jan. 14, 1996, at Life Center Church, pastored by Rev. T.L. Barret, located on the South Side of Chicago.]
In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful,
This world talks a lot about love, but to understand love is to understand the core out of which God operates. Love is not an emotion. It’s not that tender feeling that one gets in the heart when you see someone you are attracted to. We are not talking about love on the base level.
The scripture says, God is Love. When you see the verb “is,” which cannot take an object and which represents a state of being, then whatever is on one side of that “is,” is equal to what’s on the other side. It’s like an equation: God equals Love.
If you say God is Love, then Love is God. Love is that creative force out of which the universe came. Love is that creative force that gave motion to matter that made nothing into something. Love is that creative force out of which comes law and order, sustenance, maintenance and the reproduction of all things. God is Love.
There was a man who came to Jesus and asked Him how could he attain the Kingdom of God. Jesus said to the man, well, do the law. And the man said, I’m already doing these things. Then Jesus told him to take all of his goods, sell them and give them to the poor. Jesus said, deny yourself and pick up your cross, then come and follow me and you will attain the Kingdom of God. Well, that was a little too much for that fellow. So he went on about his business with the law.
Moses brought law. Muhammad (PBUH) brought law. Law is good, for law gives us and defines for us the limits of our behavior that will disallow us to infringe upon the rights and happiness of others. Law is a necessity. But law in and of itself is not the answer. For law can give you the outward appearance of what you may not be on the inside.
The law of God is good, so you can live the law and appear good. David said, “I delight in the law; the law is a lamp unto my feet.” All of that is good. But time demands something better than just law-abiding people, because the law can only govern members of the body, but what can correct a reprobate mind?
Jesus wanted to nurture that which was on the inside because when you are good, you don’t need law. The law is not for righteous people. The law is for the lawless. When you become a reflection of Christ, you don’t need law anymore. Jesus said, the first commandment that I give you is to love God with all your heart, your soul, and your mind.
And the second is like unto it, love your neighbor as yourself. On these two hang all the law and the prophets. So love is above the law because out of love came the law. Out of love came motion. Out of love came order. Out of love came sustenance and maintenance and reproduction. Love is the apex of it all.
Beloved family, we don’t love each other as He loved us. We like to show love to the big shots. We like to be good to the person with power and authority who can be good to us. So our love oftentimes to the big shot is tainted with a motivation that is not right. It’s easy to love somebody that can give you a position, so you can feign obedience, feign love.
But the little believer that’s sitting in the back somewhere, that little sister or brother that comes to church every Sunday and comes through the week and says nothing, but when it’s time to give, they are always there. And when it’s time to work, they are always there. And sometimes you pass over that one to get to the big shot. But Jesus said, Love ye one another even as—just like, equal to the way—I have shown my love for you.
You can’t love one another being proud and arrogant over your position in the church or in the mosque or in your business. That’s not love when you’ve got to remind people of who you are so that they will bow to your so-called authority. Love disallows vain and glorious talk. Love disallows bragging, boastfulness, ego tripping, over some gift you have that didn’t originate with you; over some advantage you have that somebody else gave you.
Love does not behave itself unseemly. Love does not seek its own. Love can transcend these artificial barriers that keep us separated from one another. Love doesn’t care anything about your position. Love doesn’t care whether you’re poor, hungry, naked, or out of doors. Love will never pass you by. Jesus said, if any man will come after me, if any man would be my disciple, let him deny himself, pick up his cross, and follow me.
Dear beloved servants of the Living God, our preaching, our singing, our work should not be to seek the praise of men. Whatever we do should be to the glory of God and the edification of God’s people. A lot of people love to give and that’s wonderful. I, myself, try to be very charitable, but you don’t see my heart. You don’t know why I’m being charitable. Suppose I’m being charitable because I want to obligate you to me. Suppose I’m being charitable because I want you to recognize me as somebody special. Suppose I’m giving money so I can be seen of men like those who pray to be seen. My motive that you can’t see condemns what I do that may appear good on the surface. If it’s tainted with vanity, it’s worth nothing. If I have not love, I’m nothing.
When Jesus met Peter, he was doing something. When Jesus met Luke, he was doing something. When he met Matthew and Mark, they were doing something. But He said, come, follow me, I have something that I want you to do. If you’re in love with what you are doing, then you can’t deny yourself to accept Him and His mission and His work. You can’t be a Christian; you can’t be a Muslim; you can’t be Hebrew or a Jew and be self-willed. You may say, I’m a good Christian; I’ve given my money; I helped to build Christ Universal Temple or Life Center.
I helped to build Mosque Maryam. I sacrificed my money. But, it will profit you nothing if you just come and take your seat and sing and shout and sell newspapers and give money but are not involved in Christ’s mission. Christ’s mission is not coming to church. Christ’s mission is not necessarily having the finest choir in the city or building the biggest building in the city.
Why do you have to fish Peter? Because my people are swimming in a sea of sin that soon shall become a lake of fire. I want you, Peter, to get them out of the world and bring them to Me. But in order to do that, Peter, you can’t be part time. If you are going to be My disciple you have to put down your pole and your net, put your trust in my Father and follow Me.
Don’t worry about your bread. Don’t worry about your car note. Don’t worry about your tattered robe. If you follow Me, your robe is out there; your rent will be paid; your mortgage will be paid. If you look at the lilies, they toil not, neither do they spin. If you look at the foxes and you look at all of God’s creatures, they are taken care of. How much more will He take care of you if you put Him first in your life?
No church where His name is mentioned should be empty; not as long as you are in here. You can’t come just to sit and enjoy, you must bring someone with you because you, too, must be fishers of men and women who are dying out in that world under Satan’s grip. And the only way they can be free is that you have to bring them to Him Who has been sent into the world to liberate us, not just from the oppressive hand of an oppressor, but to liberate us from the worst oppression of all, and that is sin itself.
I close knowing that life is like a vapor; it appears for a short time and then it vanishes. So the time that you have and I have, we’ve got to do something with our time to be worthy of the limitless time that God says He would grant those who accept eternal life. I say this as a man who is hated without a cause, as a man that is misunderstood because I am purposely misrepresented by those who fear truth freeing their slaves.
They are afraid because they have us boxed in, in a sort of religiosity but not in the mission of Jesus Christ or the mission of Muhammad. We have relegated these things to a back burner while we pursue the perishable goods of the world.
If you tell me that God is your Father, then act like God is your Father. Get up like a man that knows God is Willing and start taking the world by the horns and wrestling the world down and overcoming the world. Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. Do you love Him with all your heart, soul and mind? Then from this day forward, love ye one another even as He has loved us.