The Supremes Were Right: “You Can’t Hurry Love.”

supIn the natural as well as the kingdom of God, opposites often attract, and opposites often fuss with each other! Theorists (seers/visionaries/dreamers/conceptualists) often fuss with practical implementers (“doers”/teachers/administrators) and vice versa! The “normal” flow of logic is the Holy Spirit opens the eyes of our understanding to what then ought to be lived practically. It is unlikely we will live what we do not understand.

Implementers can accuse theorists of prattling on forever about ideals, but never actually doing anything to realize those ideals—endless, hot-air, philosophizing. Theorists can criticize implementers as being: shallow, “not deep,” ambitious, carnal, or driven to achieve something in one’s own strength and drive—doing a “God-thing,” without God-sanction, energizing, and timing, simply because it seems logical and “right” to do it.

Well, as in all things, we need each other to be complete. Implementers provoke theorists to action, and theorists make sure implementers are motivated correctly. It is not enough to have pure water in the river (theorists), it needs to be moving (implementers)! Sometimes when a fresh understanding of some facet of kingdom life is brought to us by the Holy Spirit, we can either talk about it forever and do nothing, or rush off to make what we “see” happen. Both extremes are a mistake.

Whatever understanding we may have come to, whatever topic—relationship, church, family, justice, poverty, teaching, preaching, worship, gifts, etc., love is, and must be the energizing power  and ultimate measure of all that we believe and do. Not sentimental, philosophic love but real, costly, inconvenient, sacrificial otherness that genuinely considers others more highly than ourselves (Php. 2:3).

We know we have passed from death to life, not by the brilliance of our “revelations,” nor the “depth of our teachings,” nor our “mighty anointing,” nor by how many miracles we do, nor by our passion for social justice nor how “awesome” our praise and worship is, but by our love for the brotherhood–the family of God, one another (1 John 3:14). If there was ever a matter so easy to agree with rhetorically, and so difficult to live practically, love is it, and love cannot be rushed.

The failure to live what we preach is perhaps the biggest stench the ekklesia leaves in the nostrils of an unbelieving world. Whatever we see, whatever we understand, whatever we try to “do,” whatever we preach, truth-wise, must be saturated in love, bathed in love, and love can’t be hurried, and it doesn’t come cheap.

In a metaphorical way, Dianna Ross and the Supremes had it right in 1966 when they sang:

You can’t hurry love
No, you just have to wait
She said love don’t come easy . . .

You can’t hurry love
No, you just have to wait
You got to trust, give it time
No matter how long it takes

 Copyright 1966 Holland-Dozier-Holland

It is not that implementation isn’t critical. It is. However, merely getting a hold of a God-thing and rushing off to implementation, misses important elements: the motivating power and the in-working of the cross. Whatever the thing we think we see or understand in the kingdom might be, it must become life in us before it becomes life in others, and that only happens one way: by death and resurrection life (John 12:24). I believe it was Watchman Nee who said: “Light in us must become life in us, before it can become light in others.” That happens when the Spirit takes our “insights” and “revelations” into death, and brings them back again in resurrection.

A God-thing implemented merely by vision, strategy, planning, purpose, passion, organization, and administration will inevitably end-up just bringing forth “successful” death. The same God-thing implemented through the in-wrought cross in a human heart, in love, resurrection life, service, and empowerment of others will result in liberating, reproducing, life.  If we miss this, we will inevitably initiate another program, perhaps based on better understanding than the last one, perhaps done in the most sincerity with passion and zeal for God and His ways, perhaps with “better results” than the last one, but it will be just another program none-the-less—”Babylon Lite.”

In the natural every species has a gestation period required for life. It can’t be hurried. If it is hurried it will be born dead or deformed. It is the same spiritually. Even the “revelation” of love itself as the beginning and end of all things, cannot be rushed to application.  Love requires gestation. Love requires incubation in an invisible place where only the one carrying the seed knows that there is life  in the womb. The day will come when everyone will know there is a pregnancy, but in the early goings . . . only Momma knows for sure.

When John Lennon sang, “All you need is love,” he was right. Sure, his understanding of it didn’t align with Christ’s kingdom, but I can’t help but believe that this lyric reflects something so deep in the human psyche, that even an unbeliever knows that love is the cement of perfection, the yearning of every human heart. John’s diagnosis was right. It seems unlikely he ever found the Cure.

Let’s avoid the pitfall of either extreme. Let’s effectively co-labor with the Christ in one another to the full realization of what His body is meant to be, for the benefit of God’s heart for humanity, remembering what Momma said:  . . .  you can’t hurry love.


Copyright 2013,  Dr. Stephen R. Crosby, Permission is granted to copy, forward, or distribute this article for non-commercial use only, as long as this copyright byline, in totality, is maintained in all duplications, copies, and link references.  For reprint permission for any commercial use, in any form of media, please contact
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2 comments on “The Supremes Were Right: “You Can’t Hurry Love.”

  1. Doc, this is RIGHT where I’m at, in so many ways right now. In terms of the next step in my life, my wife and I, we’re that “momma” that knows there’s life growing in the womb, and it can’t be rushed, but must be continually washed in the water (spirit) of the Word (Christ), which is, and who is love (Ephesians 5:26). It’s an inside-out purifying process.
    Unity is not optional on the battlefield, just as “faithfulness in the little things” is not optional in treating wounds. If you fail to sanitize before field dressing a wound you will risk dying of infection. Divisions and personality conflicts are “palace luxuries” that deployed soldiers simply can’t afford. So lies the difference. Are we deployed (all together) and bearing fruit, or are we still at camp (even just one), arguing about the colors of our uniforms, the designs of our flags, or whatever other small thing? As you said, let us go to battle, as one! 🙂

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