This last weekend there was a youth rally at a church in Tucson, and everyone from the campus college group (A4C) helped out. I was excited to go, but had no idea what an encouraging time it would be! The speaker was from Tennessee and is now a missionary in Ghana, Africa; his message was just so good that I wanted to share some of it...
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, it is not rude, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
The speaker took that passage and made 3 columns using every phrase/action description above. On the left side he left a blank, and on the right side he left a blank, so it looked something like this:
____ is patient with ____
____ is kind to _____
____ does not envy ____
And so on and so forth to ____ never fails ____.
Then he told us to put "God" in every blank on the left. Then put "Janette" in every blank on the right. Wow. We know these statments are true because "God is love" and this passage describes love! Then he passed out an identical document with the same blanks as the first one. Only he had us put "Janette" in the left hand column blanks. In the right hand column blanks, he had us put the name/names of people we struggle to love. Now, not due to anyone's fault but my own, I found I had a long list of people's names I could put down!
The whole point is that if we can grasp (or attempt anyway) how God loves us and how much he loves us, then we can't help but administer/show/give that love to others! Obviously loving this way is contrary to our selfish nature, so he pointed that this is something to constantly pray and ask God's help with. In fact, the speaker pointed out that when it comes to love, God calls us to a standard that we are incapable of meeting...except through Christ!
I recently read a book called "Crazy Love" which is about how God loves us and yet, we typically only respond to that love in a lukewarm fashion by either keeping it only to ourselves or hardly acknowledging it at all. (I highly recommend this book, by the way!) Several other speakers/writers lately have addressed this same concept from different viewpoints. I've come to think that when messages/themes continually pop up, it isn't random...rather its a "God-cidence":)
So here's to praying for more capacity to love and looking for opportunities to do so! Don't you just LOVE that? ;)