In preparing to go to El Salvador (which I'm half way there financially! Praise Jesus) our team is reading Compelled by Love. As I was reading it I read a scripture that I think really sums up a lot of my ministry. It was one of those ah hah! moments, where I knew I had read the scripture before, but for the first time it hit me. 1 Thessalonians 2.8 "We cared so much for you that we were please to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us" (HCSB) God has blessed me with a soft, large heart. I get attached to the people I serve: guys at the radio station, internationals, friends, etc. This time of year is hard for me because people leave: internationals go back to their homelands and people I have grown with graduate. It's a fact of life, I know, but it still is one of those things I hate just a little when I have to say the goodbye. Last night it hit me. It's because those people are dear to me. If they don't know the Lord I spend time praying they would, I spend time serving them and trying to show practical love: they are dear in my heart. People who know the Lord, I serve and get encouraged by them and their ministries: they are dear in my heart. I want to be compelled by love in the areas of my life and have people become dear to me, even if I have to say goodbye.
The scripture reminded me of a wonderful person I've gotten to know for the last few years, and I have even gotten to share a house with her. I had to "say goodbye" she moved out and graduated, but I'm reminded of the beginning of our relationship. We had known each other for about a month, and I felt like I was really friends with the people that I was getting to know. One night before leaving I said "I love you guys, goodnight" This friend was standing up close to me, so I hugged her and she was stiff. I thought it was weird but went on. Later on in our friendship, she told me that night had freaked her out. She said it was because I professed to a room of people that I loved them. (hugging heralso freaked her out too because at the moment I did not know she wasn't the biggest on the huggy hugs) She said she had thought I had to be some kind of hippyish person, a granola as they call christian hippies. I laughed, but she told me that, that moment had changed her look of me forever because from that day on she saw that I had lived out what I had said. Man, if that's not a warning to really make sure your life lines up with what you say, I don't know what else is.
I want to be compelled by love. I want to be comfortable around those who don't believe the same things I do or who live a different life. I want them to become dear to me because I believe they are dear to the Lord, and that is hard because there are days I'm not compelled by love. I don't want to merely pretend to be an offering.