"We love because He first loved us."
Those are the words of 1 John 4:19, and they have taken on a new shade of meaning for me this week. We are in the midst of a mission week. In the past mission meant that I was a part of a group from my church that was in service to a person or group of people different from myself. This week, serving here in Dulce it is the reverse. We are the recipients of the service of others. There are about 25 people who have traveled from the Denver area to work on a number of projects at our church and in our community.
Windows are being repaired. Buildings and fences are being painted. Ramps are being built. The children of the community are attending a vacation Bible school. These are all very good things but the thing I value most this week is the relationships that are being built.
We have met a few of the people in the group before. Others we are just getting to know and they are quickly becoming dear to us. They come from four different congregations, and are a very diverse group, so they are also getting to know each other better. Some are camping at the church property and others are staying at the motel. They have a skilled cooking crew and lots of food so we are eating all of our meals with them. Between working side-by-side, sharing a meal and sitting around the campfire it is has been my privilege to hear their stories and share my own.
Yesterday, at the end of the day, it occurred to me that a thread that ran through all we have shared together is that, through all of the ups and downs of our lives, God is unchanging.
I have heard a lot of stories of hard times, yet always times in which God remained present. A situation may have been spiraling out of human control, but it was always in God's control. And that perspective, which was not always in the front-and-center as a hard time was going on, was the place where peace was found. A storm may have raged but it turned out that the ship was always safely in port.
Each person I have talked with knows, in their own way, that God, and God alone, is the anchor of their life. And so I find these people easy to know…to know deeply…to love, because of the love that God has poured out on us in His Son.
It is a love that He freely gave me when it was the last thing I was looking for or thought that I needed. But it was truly the best gift ever. And having received it I am able to love others in His name, to His glory. Amen.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.