About a week ago Duche spoke to in the inmates involved with I am Second at the Dawson State jail. After presenting the Gospel, Duche left all the inmates one of his cards that had his story of transformation from drug dealer to Christ follower. Three days later, Duche got a facebook message from a 17 year old girl, named Michelle (name changed for privacy), saying that her mother had seen Duche in prison, had sent her his card and told her to contact Duche via facebook. She said she liked Duche’s story and she would like to meet Duche someday, but she knew that would probably never happen. She was content with a new facebook friend.
Duche looked up her facebook profile and saw that she was from Lubbock, TX. I am Second had an event in Lubbock at Texas Tech partnering with Campus Crusade and Duche invited her to come. He knew this would be awkward for a lonely high school girl to come to an event with hundreds of people she didn’t know, but she came anyway. When Michelle’s father dropped Duche off, the father asked, “What kind of event is this?” Duche gave him an I am Second tract and invited him in, but he said, “No, no, I’ll come back and pick her up.”
“We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.” – Paul
Wait a minute. “We loved you so much“… Now there’s a new way of looking at it (for me anyway). I always have this idea in my head that the love I show others comes directly from my love from God. My love from God compels me to share His love with others. I still wouldn’t say that’s wrong… but maybe it’s incomplete. Should it be my love for God and my love for others that brings me to the point of sharing the gospel? And not only the gospel—but my life as well. For Paul to share his life with someone, it meant he was spending time with them in community—living with them, eating with them, and serving with them. How often do we make that next step of truly investing not just a conversation, but authentic and substantial time with a person? We should be taking delight in these things out of our love for our neighbors. But fundamentally, do we love our neighbors? Think about those who we’re called to love. (This would be everyone—friend and foe alike). Do we truly love them? Now, if we love them, shouldn’t we invest in them both through sharing the gospel with them, and then by following up with them through quality time?
The challenge is pretty self evident here, but I’ll lay it out just in case. Examine your relationships. 1) Do you love your neighbors? 2) If you love them, are you showing them genuine love? 3) If you’re showing them genuine love, are you showing them Christ? 4) If you’re showing them Christ, are you continuing to love them by investing in them?
I of course am not suggesting that you beat anyone over the head with a Bible, but I think it’s important that we show an authentic compassion and love for people through actions and quality time so that the faith that we share doesn’t stand alone. Then we, like Paul, can show others our love.
Let me know how it goes!
I have a new friend named Ben. He’s a goofy guy, but he encourages me frequently with a phrase that I find myself trying to stick to in all situations. “Does this show the love of Christ?” So when I’m debating whether to have a conversation with a friend who I know doesn’t know Christ and I keep my mouth shut, is that showing the love of Christ? When I see someone with a need I can meet, but don’t choose to meet it, is that showing the love of Christ? When I see two people in a spiritual argument and decide to jump right in for the fun of it, does that show the love of Christ?
This hit home when I was watching Priscilla’s video yesterday. Her friend (now husband) was willing to put himself in danger in order to share with her how much Christ loved her. That definitely was showing love! Look at where her life is now. She has completely given her life over to ministry, and it couldn’t have happened without one person being willing to put himself second to her needs, and showing love.
We’ve been so blessed with the love of Christ changing our lives; why not show it to others, too? I read something from C.S. Lewis a few days ago that actually startled me. In Mere Christianity, he said, “As for the unbelievers, they will no doubt cheerfully use the word [Christian] in the refined sense. It will become in their mouths simply a term of praise. In calling anyone a Christian, they will mean that they think him a good man.” I don’t about you, but I definitely don’t think things panned out this way. Many people’s perception of “Christians” is far less that “a good man”. Maybe we can start changing people’s minds by showing them love.
So my challenge for you is to show love to 3 people a day for the next week, and if ever they acknowledge that you’re being kind or nice, be sure to tell them what compels you to be so loving: Christ.
Let me know how it goes-