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The Love We Take

July 2012
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The Gospel of John

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There is a trilogy of short songs on the album/CD Abbey Road (1969) by The Beatles, and the last line of the last song in the trilogy goes like this: “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make” (from “The End” composed by John Lennon and Paul McCartney–YouTube video below).

The opening lines of the trilogy are “Once there was a way to get back homeward, once there was a way to get back home” (from “Golden Slumbers” composed by John Lennon and Paul McCartney).

Somewhere in between those two lines we live our lives. Let’s look at the words of the entire trilogy–“Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End”–(which are surprisingly few):

Once there was a way to get back homeward
Once there was a way to get back home
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby

Golden slumbers fill your eyes
Smiles awake you when you rise
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby

Once there was a way to get back homeward
Once there was a way to get back home
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby

Boy, you’re going to carry that weight
Carry that weight a long time
Boy, you’re going to carry that weight
Carry that weight a long time

I never give you my pillow
I only send you my invitations
And in the middle of the celebrations
I break down


Oh yeah, all right
Are you going to be in my dreams

And in the end
The love you take
Is equal to the love you make
(Source here)

We spend most of our lives “looking for love in all the wrong places; looking for love in too many faces” (quote source here). Truth is, we go “looking for love” but we rarely give it back. Always looking, looking, looking . . . as in “I never give you my pillowI only send you my invitations.” And even if we find it, it never seems to last–And in the middle of the celebrations I break down.”

On the surface we can’t seem to pinpoint the problem. We spend our years in a “golden slumber” never quite understanding what is wrong. And since everybody else seems to be there, too, we figure we’re all in the same boat drifting on the same ocean. And we hope someday we’ll be lucky in love, a lasting love (maybe). How many couples are actually faithful nowadays, and not just in actions but in thoughts, also? Wandering eyes are everywhere, it seems, even if there is no action taken. We’re never content.

“And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.” It is because we are bankrupt in love ourselves that the love we take from others doesn’t last. We are, in a word, selfish.  Self-consumed with a “what’s in it for me” attitude.

I Corinthians 13 is known as the “love” chapter in the Bible, so lets take a look at I Corinthians 13:3-7 (MSG) specifically as it holds the answer:

“If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. 

  “Love never gives up. 
   Love cares more for others than for self. 
   Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. 
   Love doesn’t strut, 
   Doesn’t have a swelled head, 
   Doesn’t force itself on others, 
   Isn’t always ‘me first,’ 
   Doesn’t fly off the handle, 
   Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, 
   Doesn’t revel when others grovel, 
   Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, 
   Puts up with anything, 
   Trusts God always, 
   Always looks for the best, 
   Never looks back, 
   But keeps going to the end.”

If we are really honest with ourselves, we don’t live like that–not by a long shot. We run into trouble at the very start of that list–“love never gives up, love cares more for others than for self (OUCH). And it gets worse–love “doesn’t want what it doesn’t have” (OUCH); “doesn’t strut” (OUCH); doesn’t have a swelled head” (OUCH); “doesn’t force itself on others” (OUCH); “isn’t always ‘me first’ ” (OUCH); “doesn’t fly off the handle” (OUCH); “doesn’t keep score of the sins of others” (OUCH); and “doesn’t revel when others grovel” (OUCH, OUCH, OUCH!).

We don’t score very well on any of those points. We live is a disposable, throw-away society centered on self. If we think otherwise, we are deceived. And when we don’t get what we want, we blame it on others (you don’t have to look any further than Washington DC to clearly see that this attitude starts at the very top), and it’s called the human condition.

I like what Eugene Peterson has to say about love and it’s connection to God in his introduction to I John in The Message Bible:

“The two most difficult things to get straight in life are love and God. More often than not, the mess people make of their lives can be traced to failure or stupidity or meanness in one or both of these areas.

“The basic and biblical Christian conviction is that the two subjects are intricately related. If we want to deal with God the right way, we have to learn to love the right way. If we want to love the right way, we have to deal with God the right way. God and love can’t be separated.”

Keeping that in mind–that God and love can’t be separated–let’s look at the rest of I Cor. 13:3-7. It goes on to state that love takes pleasure in the flowering of truth; puts up with anything; trusts God always; always looks for the best, and never looks back but keeps going to the end.” So what is “the flowering of truth”? For Christians, it starts with a personal relationship with God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Without that core as a foundation, the rest is just words on paper that sound good but never work. Our problem with “self” is a heart issue, and as long as we are in the way, it will never be cured. Self will always rule. Just take a look at the world and the crises going on all around the globe if you don’t believe that is true. When we are left in charge, we mess up everything.

So, do you want to be the kind of person who can truly love others? Do you want to be able to put up with anything; always trust God; always look for the best in and for others and not just yourself, and never look back with regrets but keep going to the end? It starts with a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Do you know Him? You can start by reading the gospel of John.

John 3:16-18 (MSG) states: “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son (Jesus Christ). And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.”

Now, how can you resist that kind of invitation? In a single word, “Don’t!” Jesus Christ will change your whole life for the better–if you let Him. However, the choice is yours.

“And in the end
the love you take
is equal to the love
you make . . .” 

YouTube video: “Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End” composed by John Lennon and Paul McCartney and sung by The Beatles on “Abbey Road” (1969):

Photo credit here



  1. Chrystal says:

    You don’t know how many times I’ve journaled about being selfish & my failure in loving others….it’s a constant struggle.


    • Thanks for your honesty! It’s a struggle for all of us!!! We just need to keep going back to the source, Jesus Christ, and not use our failures as an excuse to stay that way. But it is a journey, and it will continue right on up until the end . . . which is really only the beginning of eternity.


  2. gracefully50 says:

    Oh wow! There were too many “ouches” for me!
    Thank you for this wonderful post Sara!


    • Thanks!!! And I know what you mean about too many “ouches”! I appreciate your compliment on this (and previous) posts. I never really know what I’m going to write until I just sit down and write it (all in one sitting), and then after I publish it I wonder sometimes what I am doing (in the total scheme of things). So it’s great to know that you liked it, and thanks for letting me know!


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