When you walk into your church, do you feel love? We’re not talking about a sappy sentimental feeling, but one of goodwill, benevolence and commitment. This is the type of love God demonstrates in the Bible. He loves the unlovable and the unlovely, not because they deserve it, but because it is His nature to love. He is love.
Such love does not come naturally to us. Love can only come from its Source—our Heavenly Father. Because of His love for us, we are able to show that love to others. First John 3:16 says, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”
Blogger Shannan Martin traveled with Compassion International to Ecuador and had a beautiful connection with a little girl. Read her experience:
Beautiful girls lined up on both sides…their long hair pulled back from their features, eyes shining, skirts swishing. They held out long-stemmed Ecuadorian roses while music spilled from behind them, Hosanna! Hosanna! erasing any space between us…
A little girl walked over, wedging into the pew…She smiled shyly at first, two tidy rows of baby teeth, her jacket zipped up to her chin. Plucking the rose from my lap, she grinned. "Roja?" I asked. "Si!" She pointed to the leaves then, giggling, "verde!"
And so it began. She welcomed me to her table there on the front-row pew. I scooted my chair in.
We held sweaty hands and spoke only in colors.
She raised her arms. I scooped her up.
It's Sunday, and I have a better idea of the church I long for.
I want a church of broken people who shimmer with the glow of redemption.
I want a boiled-down, universal language of commonality, a singular thread.
I want an invitation to dance badly and hug strangers.
I want a humble house of God with a curtain for a door, flung over the jamb, covered in roses.
I want a haven, a never-gives-up hope.
But if I really want those things, I have to first be willing to be them.
Are you willing to be those things? Pray today and ask God to help you love sacrificially.
We encourage you to read the entirety of Shannan Martin’s blog post.