Sometimes in life, we get the message…over and over and over. When I find myself hearing the same things from several different directions, I have learned to take notice. To pay attention for what just might be the Holy Spirit prodding me in a direction, pricking my conscience, and whispering “take this path”. Lately I find that happening. Those of us who consider ourselves Christ-followers have been called to be lovers. AND he calls us to love like Jesus loves us. Sacrificially, completely, without strings, without judgement, without a second thought. A love like this one.
God calls us to love Him and to love other people. He calls these people our “neighbors”. This certainly can mean our literal neighbors – the people who live in houses next to and near us. It can also mean everyone, right? Because we live in a world that has shrunk because we can talk to someone across the globe in real time via phone, video conference and social media; because we can be on a plane and having dinner with our “neighbor” on the other side of the planet in less than 24 hours; because we KNOW what is happening around the world to those who also bear the image of God…we are neighbors.
How do we do this? How do we love our neighbors? Who has the time, the energy, the resources? It’s easy to think that there’s no way for me to do this. I cannot express love to every single one of the world’s 7+ billion people. But I can express love to one at a time. I can find opportunities to give love to those in my immediate circle – my family, friends, co-workers; those that I meet in my community and the communities in which I travel; and I can find ways to reach beyond. Whether sponsoring a child through Children’s Hope Chest (like my sweet Grace in Uganda), making a connection with a missionary in a far away country through support, prayer and even joining them, or giving to the global effort to help displaced and desperate refugees (here are some ideas from Ann Voskamp) – I can love my neighbor.
Not just I can. I am called to…because I am called to be a lover.