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Love thy neighbor

A month or two ago, Jeff did a teaching on the good Samaritan. I came away from that teaching with the sense that the heart of the gospel is to love the person in front of you with the love of Christ within you.

Isn't that oh so simple yet oh so difficult?

What would churchlife be like if every man, woman, and child simply went with what they sensed God leading them to do in loving someone in a given moment?

A few nights ago, I was out running errands. Robert, a neighbor of ours, called. He was really concerned about his job situation, and he asked if I would pray for him. We were already going to have the Williamses and the Maddoxes over for dinner that night, so I got the sense that maybe, instead of going to Robert's and praying, I should invite his family over so that we could all pray for him.

To my delightful surprise, he said yes. 

So Robert, his wife, Mollie, and their son, Isaac, came over. They had only met the Williamses and Maddoxes once, so laying out their difficult situation and being vulnerable was a tremendous act of courage and faith. We really ministered to them. We shared scriptures that have authentically touched us in difficult times. We shared testimony of amazing things God had done in our lives and specifically in our jobs. And we prayed for them.

While the adults were together, the kids were in the other room playing. I was surprised (and touched), however, to see that Halle (Aaron and Amy's 12-year-old daughter) chose to stay in the room with the adults. I just got the sense that Halle was learning to choose the Lord on her own accord and that maybe it was time for her to be baptized.

By the time Robert, Mollie, and Isaac left, it was 8:15 pm and we were just sitting down for dinner. Yet not one man, woman, or child complained. Everyone knew, somehow, that what was happening that night was more important than food and drink. 

During dinner, I got the sense that I should say something to Halle. What in the world do I say, Lord? 

Not exactly knowing what to say, I asked Halle what she thought of the time with Robert and Mollie. She said she thought it was really good. But then something happened that caught us all off guard...

Halle began crying. Aaron wrapped his arm around her and asked her what was wrong. She responded that she didn't know why she was crying, but that God felt so real to her tonight. Then Amanda started crying (and Amanda is not a happy crier). 

It was all too much for me.

Stumbling through words, I tried to delicately say to Halle that tonight I got the sense that she was ready to be baptized. I told her that whenever she felt ready, she should not hesitate. Thankfully, Aaron and Amy had already discussed baptism with Halle a few months ago. Aaron asked Halle if she wanted to be baptized, and Halle said yes. We then began to talk about when and where to do it.

It was a night I could not have contrived. But I didn't have to. We never do.

All we need to do is say yes to God in loving the person He puts right in front of us.

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Reader Comments (3)

It was very much Godlife. Halle was sitting next to me during the 30 minutes or so of discussion and prayer. All the other kids were in another room (including Chloe who took it upon herself to watch Isaac while we prayed). I too was noticing her during the prayer. She was listening, interested, and emotional.

I'm certain it is very related to the fact that she has witnessed her own family going through a very trying financial time (going on 6 months) and she has witnessed God's provision and love, especially through the Church. And here we all sat, loving a family that might just be entering the struggles they've been enduring.

I remember saying to Amy and Aaron about a month ago that I felt like God was using their job situation to make life-altering impressions on the hearts of their children.

December 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergreg

I meant to say earlier this week (but this is as good a forum as any) that I'm so glad you asked Halle about her thoughts that night, Rishi. She would not have brought it up on her own, but all it took was a little prompting, and what a precious conversation it was. It's also opened up some moments of conversation since then. Truly, God uses the church to help us raise our children, to help us parent, to help us recognize and know him. Monday night was an incredible example of that.

December 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteramy

Thanks so much for posting this, Rishi. I so appreciate being able to vicariously participate in your church's "Body Life." Of course, this entry was especially poignant for me. What a blessing it is for me to see how others so far away from me minister to my children and grandchildren with the love of Jesus!

January 1, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterchris kadey

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