Hi, Rob here. On Saturday one of the guys in our church organised an all-day working bee for a widow in the neighbourhood, who also suffered from physical disability. Her yard was the suburban equivalent of the Amazon jungle. It was full of weeds, vines, rotting trees, junk and so on. The turnout of helpers was amazing and they all got stuck in, enabling a transformation of Extreme Makeover proportions! This was more than an act of service; it was a radical input of Christ-like love into this woman’s life. It may or may not have reached her heart but it was good to do for our sakes. It was good for our hearts to make a sacrifice of time, energy and effort on behalf of another and it was even better to do it as a community.
I don’t write this to brag about my church, but to remind myself of the importance of loving service for the good of our hearts. It’s so easy in life to get caught up in our busy little worlds, and it is clearly good to love our families, but we are part of a bigger story and need to live like that. This means taking the risk to live our lives openly to the world, while at the same time guarding our hearts. That risk is lessened though if we do this in community.
This means that if you find yourself offering support to someone in need, you let a friend in on what you’re doing so that you can pray together and sound off if you need to. My wife, Kiley, does this well. I’m still getting it! It may mean opening your home, sharing your weaknesses and not just offering advice, getting stuck into some practical work or letting someone cry on your shoulder.
Jesus’ compassion for people was incredible. Filled with a heart of divine love he found energy at the end of long days of ministry to offer kindness and grace to many. The feeding of the 5000 happened after Jesus had tried taking the disciples away for a much needed retreat. The crowds followed them, interrupted their plans and still, Jesus was filled with compassion for them! I find that incredible and very different to what my reaction would have been.
It tells me though, that if we are to live a life of love, we need to have an abundance of what we want to give away. We need to become a reservoir of God’s love. How do we do that? I’m still working on it! But it seems to be connected to seeking him, reminding ourselves that we are indeed loved, inviting him to speak his words into our hearts and soaking ourselves in his word and the person of Jesus. The more we let God’s love in, the more we let God’s love out. Just like Jesus did, but even Jesus didn’t do it alone. Love expressed through a loving community is what it’s all about. It’s good for the heart because it reflects God’s heart.