Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Greatest of These is Love

I finished reading a book tonight.  I haven't done that in a long while.  Usually when I read, I pick out the Christian make-yourself-a-better-person-and-grow-in-God type books.  Or Ted Dekker.  And when I finish those books, I always find myself just a little bit changed.  Only a little bit, but I've observed that it's those little bits that add up to a changed heart and a new person.

This time I read a different book, a learn-by-example autobiography.  It's called Kisses from Katie, and it stirred my heart and challenged me in an encouraging way.  Actually, here.  Watch about it for yourself:

Amazing, right?  She's like a modern-day Mother Theresa.  As I read her book, I almost felt like I was looking inside the window to her house and watching her live her daily life.  Her heart is bigger and wiser beyond her years, doing and learning and growing in ways most of us will never know.

I've been so very inspired by her story.  I read about what she's done, all for the Name of Christ, and I want to be like her.  I want to live every moment of my day in ways that exude Jesus and fulfill my purpose on this earth.

I have no plans to move to Uganda and pursue the same life she is living (though I suspect my 15 year old sponsored Ugandan child would absolutely love it if I did).  We admire and praise those who give their lives to spreading the news of Jesus in third-world countries, but only some are called to such a life.

The rest of us...we are called to spread the news of Jesus in our country.  The poverty-stricken people of Uganda are no less saved and broken than the wealth-stricken people of America.  At the end of life, we all die, whether rich or poor or educated or not.  And we all go to one of two place:  heaven or hell.  God loves and grieves for the lost down my comfortable street just as much as He does the disease-ridden malnourished lost souls in Africa.

All that to say that for now I plan to continue in the work He has set before me right now.  The little bit of change Katie's book has left me with is this:  I must love.  That is my true calling in life, no matter where I am or what I do.  I must love harder and deeper and longer and with every fiber of my heart and soul.  I must sacrifice because I love.  I must give and hug and laugh with and cry with until every ounce of me is exhausted and can go on no longer...and then I must love some more.  I must do this, because this is what Christ has done for me.  It is what He asks - commands - me to do.  Love isn't a feeling or an emotion.  Love is an action.  It's a response to God's love for me.  I am to love others, even to the point of death, because that is how Christ loved.

I am still trying to figure out what this looks like in my Midwestern comfort.  But then I try to figure less and do more, because the more I stop to think about it, the more I use my thinking as an excuse to not do what I was called to do because I then start to believe that I need to have it all figured out before I can be successful.  That is a lie.  Thinking gets in the way of my purpose.  My purpose is to love.  Because I am loved.

Love is hard.  It's risky.  It hurts.  It's messy and exhausting.  It demands time and energy and effort and relentless pursuit.  It means less of me and more of someone who may never even notice.  It draws me nearer to the heart of my Creator.  It bridges gaps and binds together.  It inspires and moves and gives hope.  It changes lives for eternity.  I want to be a part of that.

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Follow Katie's daily adventures at her blog:  kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com


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