The Only Thing That Counts…

Who wants to live a life that counts?? …oh my gracious, I sure do!

But between the wanting and the doing, I feel I fall short.

There are things I have done or said in my lifetime that I feel pretty good about. Occasionally, I seem to get it right. And then, there are those things I get so completely wrong. I like to imagine we are all the same in this; fully aware of our faults and yet desperate to get something right, so that our lives will have mattered in the end.

In my wondering about this, I ran across a portion of scripture that stands out,

“…The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself in love” Galatians 5:6”

I like it! So, my brain immediately organizes it into a formula-

Faith + Love= Right Actionwhich, of course, will lead to living a life that counts…I’ve got it…I’m on it!

Then I sit with that a few minutes and realize I do not “have it”…and I am not “on it” with this equation. I read it again….

The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself in love”.

Hmmmmm…. Faith, not in addition to Love,…but expressed in Love… My mind tries to grasp what my spirit immediately “gets”. Suddenly I am unsure of where to go from here with my personal little revelation…this isn’t where I saw this going. I was going to read the whole chapter and write about the fruits of the Spirit. I like fruit…. I wonder if I should just scrap it all together… I don’t know if I have words for this, and if I happen to come up with some, I’m not sure I will know how to land the plane at the end…and you are probably thinking, “just try already, I’ve got other stuff to do!”

I’m gonna try…

To give this scripture a little context, the early church has been squabbling about what believers should and shouldn’t do…the who’s in and who’s out sort of stuff we humans do whenever we form groups. And then there are these words…

“The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself in love”.

As my mind keeps swirling, my brain seems to pull out a couple of scriptures from my memory that I quickly look up. I love The Message translation of this one:

Faith– “The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see.” Hebrews 11:1 (The Message)

For believers, faith is everything. We have truths we hold to and try to build our lives on. Though we will never be perfect, we continually repent and ask for mercy. We accept, through grace, all that God offers. We live in the Hope of Eternal Life. We may not can prove any it, but we believe and accept it…in faith. It is “our handle on what we can’t see”

Then comes Love….

Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].Love never fails [it never fades nor ends]. (I Corinthians 13:4-8 AMP)

Love is faith in action and the lense through which the world can see and know God. Love is everything we know about God and everything we must aspire to be if our lives are to count for something that will last. A legacy of faith is passed through a life of love…

Love really can change our world, one person at a time…


So….remember when I told you I wasn’t sure how to land this plane?

I think maybe I will land us here, with this prayer of Love…

A prayer of St. Francis of Assissi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offense, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.

Published by: Mishelle Phillips

I’m an empty-nester mom from Franklin, Tennessee. I live with my husband of 25 years, Richard. I am blessed with friends and family who love me, encourage me…and talk me into doing stuff that scares me. Over the years I have shared my writings with them and they suggested I start this blog. So…. here it is. I offer it with one hand over my face, peeking through my fingers as I click on the word “publish” … hoping with all my heart you find something meaningful here. Mishelle Phillips


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