Loving the lowly

God has Glenn and I on an amazing journey towards loving the poor, lowly and broken hearted. It is a journey of dying to one’s self, gaining Christ’s compassion through trials and frustration, learning patience and humility, laying down preconceived ideas of ministry style and culture . . . and many other humbling lessons!

Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do. (Galatians 2:10)

I love where God is taking us, but I must admit it is not always a comfortable journey. God constantly demands more of us – not in busyness, but pride, thought, heart, intention, finance, and inner motives. He calls us to sacrifice our own desires and dreams, laying them at the foot of the cross. Even as we do so, we pick up His desires and walk more and more into His purposes. We gain His heart. And what is His heart? Obviously, salvation of all people. But we also see in the Word – both in the New Testament and in the Old Testament – that His heart is for the poor and lowly. 

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:17-18).

I can’t say I have “arrived”. I know this journey will be life long. I don’t have much to give this blog other than to challenge you to join me. I challenge you to completely surrender to God, one small step at a time.

What is out of your comfort zone in His call to love and serve the poor? Is it helping at a food shelter, talking to a homeless man, inviting a foster child into your home, moving to a poorer area to live and serve your neighbours?

Sewing ministry of Shalack

God calls us to love that knows no bounds.

There are those who argue that grace requires no works. They are correct in the truth that ONLY grace is needed for our salvation. They are incorrect when it comes to the “working out” of our salvation. The Holy Spirit is the seal of our salvation (1 Cor 1:21-22), and so, if we have the Spirit within us, we are going to keep in step with the Spirit!

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law (Gal 5:22-23).

Jesus, Himself, gave us the commandment to LOVE – love God and love others (Mark 12:30-31). Love is not an emotion, but a challenging accumulation of traits – just read through 1 Corinthians 13 if you don’t believe me!

So let us learn how to love in truth and deed. Let us learn to love without bounds. Let us call out to the Father, asking Him to give us a love that crosses culture, social status, age, nationality . . .

For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)

Sewing ministry of Shalack_learning straight stitch making bunting

Aromatic coffee

In my last blog, I shared an analogy about our need to be like coffee when hitting hot water – that when we are going through long-term trials, we need to allow Christ’s aroma to change our circumstances just at coffee changes the flavour of hot water (2 Corinthians 2:14-16). This is all well and good in theory, but what does it look like in practice?

To be honest, I can’t say particularly how this could look for you. God may call us to respond differently to someone in a very similar circumstance to us – and often what He asks of us individually will look different from one season to the next. I can’t say what the practical living out might look like for you, but I can give some thoughts on where we can start.

As I’ve been praying on how to share His aroma, the words of John continuously came back to me. Apostle John was famous by the end of his life for saying simply: “Little children, love one another”. In the epistle of 1 John, he says this 5 times – 5 times in a 5 chapter book! And this from the man who once asked Jesus: “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” (Luke 9:54). John was changed by Christ’s command that we love God and love others (John 13:34). This command needs to transform our lives too.

Loving aroma

Loving aroma

For me, the busyness of life has once again taken my eyes of the reasons behind my tasks. In completing administration for Redefined Ministries, I had lost sight of the people in the Congolese community I am trying to serve. When I lost sight of the individuals, the tasks stopped giving me fulfillment. In all the running around to get a wedding sorted, I had lost the beauty of what we’re leading up to – marriage before God and the witness of our cherished friends and family at the event. When I lost sight of God’s gift to me in my hubby-to-be, the wedding work became draining and joyless. In learning the fine points of self-publishing and formatting my documents to fit the different publishing requirements, I became stressed, tired, and a workaholic. In the details, I lost the sight of why I write – to make Him and His ways known.

God desires us to seek intimacy with Him, and rest in His love. He calls us to seek His presence, be refuelled, and give out from this place. I’ve been challenged by several friends this week all going through rough times. In the midst of their personal trials, they have not become stuck on working harder to achieve or fix the situation. They are living out the two greatest commandments – loving God, and loving others. They are spending time studying His Word in small groups, reading it alone, listening to worship music, and feeding off their time with His Spirit. They have also been offering themselves to their church body, serving as they are able. They are welcoming new people into their circle to love, and are seeking out time with friends who can love, support, and encourage them.

In Christ, we are a body. We are many in members, and we need each other to function healthily. Rather than trying to do it alone, seek out God and seek out others. Focus on worship. Focus on loving and giving, just as you allow others in the body to love, serve, and encourage you too.

Let us be known for loving others even in the midst of boiling pots of water. What does this look like in practice? Which of the following elements of love stands out to you as needing application in your current situation:

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

  • Love is patient and kind;
  • love does not envy or boast;
  • it is not arrogant or rude.
  • It does not insist on its own way;
  • it is not irritable or resentful; 
  • it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
  • Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
  • Love never ends.
Love one another - yes, chocolate is a great way to show love ;) but there are many more ways too.

Love one another – yes, chocolate is a great way to show love 😉 but there are many more ways too.