“Teacher, which is the most important command in the laws of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. The second most important is similar: ‘Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.’ All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets stem from these two laws and are fulfilled if you obey them. Keep only these and you will find that you are obeying all the others.” ~~ Matthew 22:36-40, The Living Bible
As each new year approaches, I begin to pray about the specific thing God is calling us to do in that year. Two years ago, it was to deepen our fellowship through small groups: Sunday School and the two sessions of Scripture Chats. Last year, I felt God was leading us to care for the church facility – God’s dwelling place. And, wow! You all really embraced that call, and God blessed our efforts!
This year, the phrase that kept repeating itself to me over and over as I prayed is “love each other.” So, of course, God and I had to have a little conversation. Me: “God, that’s a good idea and all, but I need something specific.” God: “Love is all you need.”
After repeating that conversation multiple times, I finally made the right request. Me: “Okay, God, show me how.”
What is it that makes you feel loved? Is it a warm smile? A listening ear? A comforting hug? Is it knowing that you’ve been heard? That you’re covered in prayer? That you’re known and missed when you’re not around? That the things you do matter?
I believe these things are how we show God’s love in this place. And I believe this is what everyone desperately needs and yearns for.
We all know someone hurting – someone lonely – someone broken – someone in need of God’s love and the love of God’s blessed community – Us. And so, I challenge you this year to meet that need. Invite them here.
I read a recent article that stated: “What attracts people to the Christian faith is not a really big show done really well (worship). Instead it’s disciples of Jesus Christ living out the beautiful Way of Jesus in real time. When we are caught up in the Way of Jesus, partnering with God towards world transformation, then others are drawn to this way of life. It’s attractive.
“When we drill down to our deepest longings, most of us want to be a part of God’s movement in this world. We are hungry for deep, faith-based relationships with God and each other. We want to engage those around us in deeper, more significant ways, immersing ourselves in the better way.”
The challenge this year is this: 1) Pray that God would bring someone to mind who needs to be loved. 2) Pray that God would give you the boldness to say, “The way God loves me through my church means a lot to me. I want to share that with you.”
Last year’s challenge seemed daunting, and look at what you did! This year’s challenge may seem hard, too. But, let God lead the way. Love somebody!