Jesus is interruptible. I tend to not be interruptible. I was reading a book the other day called Love Does by Bob Goff, a really incredible book written by Bob about his life and the whimsical way he loves others. Mid-read my phone starts ringing and my actual thought was, “I can’t answer that. I’m reading a very important book about how to love people.” By the time I finished that thought the phone had stopped ringing and I realized how ironic my statement was. We can get so caught up in the importance of what we are doing that we completely miss what’s going on around us.
Lamentations 3:21-23 says, “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
Mercy- compassion or forgiveness shown towards someone whom it is in one’s power to punish or harm.
Now I know most people aren’t living their lives looking to harm people. But even if it’s unintentional that doesn’t mean people aren’t being harmed when I don’t show compassion. My friend who called had received bad news from the doctor and just wanted a friend to talk to. What harm I could have presented by not seeing and hearing her! I answering the phone. If Lamentations says HIS mercies are new every morning, then ours are too! The Lord equips us each day with the compassion needed to see and love others well.
Stephanie Henson said extravagant love is knowing something about someone and doing something about it. Extravagant means exceeding what is reasonable or appropriate, and that’s what makes it so beautiful! Not living in limited standards, but living in eliminated fear.
Because we have lots of them. You can tack ‘phobia’ onto the end of lots of things. Glossophobia, nyctophobia, claustrophobia, eyrthophobia, escalaphobia – I really was scared of escalators for a long period of time. But then I went to a convention and the only way to get around was by escalators. So if I wanted to have any hope of listening to any of the talks, getting my money’s worth for the flight out to D.C., then I had to take the risk. The risk of getting my shoe laces caught in the grinding rotation of the escalator’s movement and crushing my foot (I know, it sounds silly to me too) and experiencing the fullness of the convention.
These fears listed above are not uncommon. The fear of public speaking, fear of the dark, fear of confined spaces, fear of blushing. Which of these are limiting you? Who don’t you talk too, what darkness aren’t you facing, who are you afraid to share a space with, what might cost you your image?
Really take a moment to think. Go back the paragraph above. Which of those made you squirm, made you hesitate?
Elena mentioned the economy of grace. I think that is perhaps the most beautiful phrase I have ever heard. Economy of grace. The grace given to you easily transferred to the next person you meet. Depositing from an overflow of savings. Kind of like the bottomless salad at Olive Garden.
I love seeing the outcome of generous living. I love seeing people feel known and a day brightened. Not necessarily that lives are going to be changed by generosity all the time, but if it’s people being and feeling better, then what a sense of peace for everyone.
Not knowing outcomes can be discouraging for me. My friend and I go on prayer walks on Monday and every time I want so badly to know – did it mean something? Was the prayer answered, did someone feel closer to Christ because of the encounter? I go back to Lamentations when I wonder that. Therefore I have this hope… great is your faithfulness.
I don’t think the innkeeper knew the outcome of his inviting Mary and Joseph into his manger. He probably had sympathy on the pregnant couple, and showed them love by offering a place to stay. He didn’t have a palace for the king, but what he had was enough. When the innkeeper made space for others, he made space for Jesus.
I would love to do the same. Just as the innkeeper didn’t know Jesus would come, but he created that space anyway, I want my love to host an environment where Jesus is welcome. Loving extravagantly might be hard, might look weird or taste funny, but the joy it can bring in the hope of our eternal promise is worth everything.