Life.  Some see it as a randomly assigned smattering of days with no purpose.  Others believe in divine appointments they rarely keep.  For most, ordinary.  But it doesn't have to be.   What if we dared to go the narrow way? Join me in taking THE FAITH DARE.

Caution: Participating in this challenge might force you to give up some of the things (people?) dearest to you. This challenge could change your life.  Join at your own risk.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

FAITHdare #12: The will know us by our love

"A new commandment I give you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:34-35).

They will know us by our love.

Really? Because I think our love looks a whole lot more like hate a lot of the time. Or maybe just disinterest, or judgment. Are you known by your love?

The book Under the Overpass (Yankoski) is a fascinating and challenging account of two college students, followers of Christ, who take half a year off of school to "become" homeless. They, in all possible ways, live a homeless life. They leave their families and stuff and money and go to the streets, meeting many different people along the way. I was blown away by their account, particularly their retelling of how the Church reacted to them. Here is one incident they recount:

"We still had a few minutes before the service began, and Sam had an idea. 'I'm going to ask the pastor if he can help us out with some food. My stomach is growling.' He got up and walked away, but was back shortly, looking disgusted. 'You wouldn't believe what just happened,' he said. 'So, I went and asked the pastor if he could help us out, if he could hook us up with someone who could feed us. I told him we didn't have any money...You know what he said? He said, 'That's not what we do here. We're here to worship.'"

Later, they muse: "'Why do we so often overlook obvious ways to show the love of God we so loudly proclaim? If someone's thirsty, give them a drink! If someone's hungry, feed them! Who is going to show the world Christ's love if not the church?"

One of the things that disturbed me most about their account was their admission that drunk people stumbling out of bars were more kind to them than men and women coming out of churches. WHAT?

How is it that someone walking down the street will feed a homeless man, but a church will bar him from even entering to worship? (something that happened many times to them)

Where is our love?

My story will be ignored if my life, my actions, do not compliment it. I don't know if actions speak louder than words, but they can certainly be a roadblock or a catalyst.

Jesus did not just say cool things. He didn't just self-righteously tell sinners to stop sinners and ignore them after that. He LOVED sinners. He cared for PHYSICAL needs so that a door would be opened for Him to minister to SPIRITUAL needs.

"You will know them by their fruits...A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits" (Mt. 7:16-20).

Are you known by your fruit? Are your actions complimenting your words? Will the lost know you are a disciple of Jesus by the way you love others?

FAITHdare #12:
Commit to loving the lost this week by performing at least one "act of random kindness." See if you are noticed by your love.

I'll leave you with another passage from Under the Overpass:
"...The 'love your neighbor' part of Jesus' teaching starts with simple actions and small opportunities that are available to each of us. Little things DO mean a lot, especially in the kingdom of God, where giving a drink of cold water has eternal repercussions. And I am convinced that the more committed we become to impacting one person at a time--whether through a cup of coffee or a genuine conversation--the more we'll prepare our hearts and our churches to respond at both a community and national level" (Yankoski).

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm...wondering what my random act of love will be! I love those quotes, and I just added that book to my wish list. I had heard about it, sort of, but didn't really know the title. I just realized the author, Mike Yankoski, is married to the co-author of Crazy Love. Crazy!

    It is horrifying to hear what the response of the church was. I certainly hope I wouldn't be in that crowd. But sometimes you wonder if without thinking you might brush someone off... God may it not be so.