I John 4:19
Leafing through the fourteen page questionnaire I was required to submit, I blasted a groan. How many clients have you shared the Gospel with? How many clients accepted Jesus Christ? Come on! Was our effectiveness as a ministry really going to be determined by the number of clients that got “saved”? It was a painful reminder of a recent phone conversation with a community agency where I had assured them that while we were definitely a faith based organization we weren’t into “whopping people with our Bibles.” “That’s your reputation,” was her reply.
Recalling the first word in our non-profit’s mission statement I was tempted to cross out shared the Gospel and replace it with loved – How many clients have you loved? Loving others, out of the vastness of love that has been given, seems like a very effective way to measure success! Any other measure becomes a statistic, a glorious, dust collecting trophy.
Loving everyone who walks through the door takes energy requiring a certain quantity of guts. It requires listening to painful stories, putting up with disgusting smells, bending to inconveniences, closing the gap of opposites with compassion, stepping outside my world and into the world of another.
Dropping my eyes again to the dreaded question I stopped my noisemaking. The “higher ups” weren’t going to get a real picture of what my staff and I did every day with that question because as un-measurable as it may be, loving is incredibly more demanding, far more long term, completely unconditional and sometimes very rewarding. Loving is my reaction to His action – because he first loved us.
Jesus, help me to love as You love.