December 16, 2021
I read a story of an interesting experience that happened in a church. One Sunday morning, parishioners quickly ushered themselves to a special service. Excitement was in the air and was apparent in the animated conversations amongst them. Nods, hugs, and greetings were happily exchanged as the congregation took their seats to begin the service. The worship team took the stage, and wow, the worship this morning sounded different, more powerful than services in recent past.
After the congregation took their seats, the lead elder of the church continued with the program. A certain man walked into the church and sat down at the back. He was welcomed with cold stares from members seated near him. People even moved away and sat elsewhere. He looked disheveled, hair unkempt under a dirty hat and he carried with him an unpleasant odor so strong that those near him held handkerchiefs to their noses.
Shortly after, an announcement was made from the pulpit, “It is now my privilege to welcome our new pastor on to the podium.” Whispers filled the air again, necks craned as people turned to look where the elder motioned his hand. The disheveled looking man stood up and gingerly walked to the podium. He was welcomed with a hug to the amazement of the congregation.
In John 15:12 Jesus says, “‘This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.'” Jesus was speaking to His disciples shortly before He was taken to be crucified, and these words carried a lot of weight. Jesus was reminding the disciples how He lived His life as an example for them to follow. In His dealings with people, He did not discriminate or look down on anyone that came to Him, regardless of their societal position.
It was love in action. Jesus represented God, who’s character is love. God’s very nature is love. Our verse for today alludes to the fact, that a person that loves, shows it by action. It implies that a person must make a conscious choice to love or not to love. Therefore, he who refuses to love does not know God. He who chooses to love knows God because love is the very nature of God. When we love, as believers, we reflect the very nature of who God is. We are being Christians when we love one another and this speaks of a relationship with the Lord. It does not matter who it is, where he or she comes from, or their standing in society, we ought to love them.
Now, back to the story of the church. The new pastor introduced himself to the congregation amid sobs that emanated from the rear of the church. The entire congregation was in tears. The pastor was in tears, too. They were convicted in their hearts of their sin. Repentance and prayers of forgiveness to the Lord and to the pastor rang through the air.
There was healing that day in the church, and the worship and praise was on another level. As a result of this experience, that church established an outreach ministry to the less fortunate in their community and a revival broke out. The love of God was seen in the actions from the members to the community and many souls were saved. The church had to start more services to accommodate their growing numbers. Praise the Lord!
When did you last demonstrate the love of God to those around you? Take a step today and show the hurting world the love of God.
By Felix Wandera, Bible League International staff, Kenya
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