As Ashyln, my precious granddaughter, was washing her hands, I bent over her bowed head and kissed her twice and commented. Nana’s getting some of your sweet sugar!
You can’t get it all cause I gotta save some for my mama and daddy and Brayden and Karyn. ( I love how, she had to name everybody on her immediate love list!)
“I won’t get it all,” I promised, “because the more you give away –the more you’ll have.”
“I know,” she agreed, “…cause God gives me more.”
Thank you, Ashlyn, your sermon came through loud and clear. God does give us more.
Ashlyn is easy to love, all my grandkids are. Their kisses are the sweetest! Their hugs are beyond description. But some folks just aren’t so easy to love.
I admit it. There are some people that are soooo hard to love. I have people on my “Must Love List”, that respond to my love with the same vigor as an angry porcupine. Oh, and I have skunks, real stinkers, stirring up a stink wherever they go. Yes sir, I don’t know if I’ve got a farm or a zoo going on, because I could share a menagerie of folks that I’ve been given to love in my years of ministry. I’ve experienced pastors that seemed more like owls, that didn’t care a hoot for anything I did. Friends, that were sly as snakes or cocky as roosters that bit me with criticism or refused to learn anything new, because they knew it all. Or parents like cowbirds, running from their responsibilities. I’ve worked with unmotivated, lay in the shade all day, kinda cow-like employees and sly foxes as well. I’ve served with peacocks and spitting lamas, jelly-fish with no backbone and even a few lions. Yes, Dorothy, lions and tigers and bears! Oh my, oh my, oh my! And when I think about it, maybe I’ve been all of these things at one time or another to someone. Lord, please forgive me.
Still the fact remains, even when I’m not feeling it, which by the way is when I need it the most, His love can flow through me.
I learned it early in ministry, thank goodness, because God had me serve in some tough places. I had a challenging little guy in my children’s church. It took all my energy and the team’s energy for that matter, to keep this child in tow. I’m ashamed to admit it, but when he was missing from our class I wanted to sing the “Hallelujah Chorus”… and you know I can’t sing!
But God gotta hold of my heart. He let me know under no uncertain terms that I had to love this guy. I explained and excused and explained some more, but God was relentless. I had to love him, not tolerate, not endure, but love him.
I finally repented and confessed, “but God, I don’t have any love to love him with.”
It was at that point God spoke clearly to my heart, “Then I’ll give you some of mine.”
It was at that point that I began to see the child through the eyes of His Heavenly Father. It was at that point that I really began to love him. And love changed that boy and it changed me. It changed the way I prayed. It changed the way I treated him. I had never been mean or unkind in any way. I had more maturity than that, but people know when you love them. I’m not saying my love wasn’t challenged, it was. He needed boundaries and discipline, which I set in a loving and constructive way.
And all those folks in my personal zoo, the monkeys, did I forget the monkeys, that play when there’s work to be done, the jelly-fish, the spitting lamas…I meant to say, the precious people that God has sent my way. The precious people that God has allowed me to see their needs so I can pray and not find fault. Yes, I can love them too. No, not because I’m such a great saint of God, but you already knew that. Believe me I struggle when I give and it’s misunderstood. I struggle, when I’m abused or overlooked or criticized, it hurts…bad sometimes. But I’ve learned and must practice what I’ve learned every single time. I take any and all hurt to the cross. I ask God to heal my hurt and I ask God to help me love them the way they need to be loved! I become a gap stander instead of a fault finder…praying instead of criticizing. Loving instead of judging. Giving His love, because He is the source of all love. He is love.
I give His love for three reasons:
1. They need it.
2. I need it.
3. There’s more where that came from—in Him! And I love it when His extravagant love flows through me!