“But God’s love is big enough to touch any life, to make light out of any darkness. Jesus came that we might have life, so that no more would we have to die in depression, anger or pain. He loved people back to life. He would go anywhere, talk to anyone. And wherever He went, He would stop for the one – the forgotten one, the one who was rejected, outcast, sick, even stone dead. Even a thief who was dying for his crimes on the cross next to Him. In the Kingdom of God’s love there is no sinner who cannot come home.” –Heidi Baker
This morning as I was praying for my teammates, God brought to mind one of the many lessons that He has taught me through those I live and work with every day. I have this teammate named Brandon, and he’s a pretty cool dude. I admire him for a lot of reasons, but one of those reasons is how he has maintained important and basic Kingdom principles even when these specific principles are not the focus of our specific ministry model here in South America.
In the Master’s Plan, we are called to look for leaders; we seek out those who can be trained and put in a position of leadership within the two years we are here. It’s a very effective model of ministry, and I am proud to be a part of it. However, there are many people that we see every day and have the opportunity to touch that most likely would not be ready to be leaders in the church in just two years. It is a difficult process to even get them to step foot inside of a church. We see alcoholics, drug addicts, prostitutes, and those who live and work on the streets who are disabled and incapacitated. They know no other life than the life of a beggar or a thief. I can honestly say from the bottom of my heart that I love them. I truly do, but sometimes I don’t know how to reach out. It’s so much easier to just walk on by.
My friend Brandon, however, has modeled to me what it means to stop for the one. He has shown me how to see the people around me and to take the time to stop and show love. I don’t know how many times we have been walking from one place to another and we stop to talk to people along the way. Often God will bring people along Brandon’s path for him to reach out to; people with crazy stories and who many others would just walk on by. Because he has responded positively to those in his path, God has entrusted him with more people to love.
I realized by observing his life that I want that kind of love in my life too. The truth is, every life is precious to God; not just the ones who might someday “become” someone important. I know that we could never know by looking at someone what God might have for that person, but I think often times we love people for their potential rather than their God-given worth. Could I love someone extravagantly that would never leave the streets, simply because God loves them that much? Could I sing songs to a lady with Alzheimers, who will never know my name or remember that I came and see that ministry as just as important as any other? So many times in my life I have loved someone to a certain point and then shook the dust off my feet so to speak when they didn’t change in a time frame that I thought was reasonable. However, Jesus didn’t love people for what they could do for Him or even for the great leader that they might someday become; He loved people for who they were and called them to something more. To Him, people weren’t projects; they were the object of His affection.
I have been challenged to pray into how I can be more sensitive to the people around me and how I can allow God to reorder my schedule as He sees fit. I want to have an attitude like Jesus had that valued every life He came into contact with. He loved the rich man and the leper the same, and honored those that society overlooked. I want to be one of those people that loves others back to life. Thank you, Brandon, for being an example to me of what it means to take the time to love and to value every life I see.