I’ve been reading a book off and on for a while that gives me boosts of encouragement. The book is called “Love Does” by Bob Goff. It’s a simple book with simple stories about what “love does”. I’d like to share my favorite story that I’ve read so far.
The story begins with a high school student (Bob) who was bound and determined to drop out of school and move to Yosemite. There was a Young Life leader (Randy) that he had gotten to know, so as a courtesy, swung by his house on a Sunday morning right before he left. Bob gave Randy the rundown on what was he was doing and Randy went inside, grabbed his backpack and a sleeping bag, and came out and told Bob that he if he didn’t mind, he wanted to go with him. Bob agreed and they left. After some time, they came back and went to Randy’s house.
This is the rest of the story as it reads in the book…
” We pulled down some familiar streets and into Randy’s driveway. There was another car in the drive next to Randy’s that looked like his girlfriend’s. She visited often. We walked up to the front door and he opened it. I walked in behind Randy uninvited, but somehow I still felt welcome. On the floor, I noticed a stack of plates and some wrapping paper, a coffeemaker, some glasses. On the couch there was a microwave half in a box. I didn’t understand at first. Had Randy just had a birthday? Was it his girlfriend’s? A microwave seemed like a weird way to celebrate someone’s arrival into the world. I knew Randy wasn’t moving because there wouldn’t be wrapping paper. Then, from around the corner, the other half of this couple bounded out and threw her arms around Randy. “Welcome home, honey.” Then the nickel dropped.
I felt both sick and choked up in an instant. I realized that these were wedding presents on the floor. Randy and his girlfriend had just gotten married. When I had knocked on Randy’s door on Sunday morning, Randy didn’t see just a high school kid who had disrupted the beginning of his marriage. He saw a kid who was about to jump the tracks. Instead of spending the early days of his marriage with his bride, he spent it with me, sneaking into the back of a tent.
Why? It was because Randy loved me. He saw the need and he did something about it. He didn’t just say he was for me or with me. He was actually present with me”.
What I learned from Randy changed my view permanently about what it meant to have friendship with Jesus. I learned that faith isn’t about knowing all of the right stuff or obeying a list of rules. It’s something more, something more costly because it involves being present and making a sacrifice. Perhaps that’s what Jesus is sometimes called Immanuel – “God with us”. I think that’s what God had in mind, for Jesus to present, to just be with us. It’s also what He has in mind for us when it comes to other people.
The world can make you think that love can be picked up at a garage sale or enveloped in a Hallmark card. But the kind of love that God created and demonstrated is a costly one because it involves sacrifice and presence. It’s a love that operates more like a sign language than being spoken outright. What I learned from Randy about the brand of love Jesus offers is that it’s more about presence than undertaking a project. It’s a brand of love that doesn’t just think about good things, or agree with them, or talk about them. What I learned from Randy reinforced the simple truth that continues to weave itself into the tapestry of every great story: Love does.
If “love does” things, then what are you doing to love?
How are you loving the people that God has placed in your life? Your kids, spouse, in-laws, co-workers, neighbors, friends, enemies.
Are you being a mentor to younger people in the church?
Are you seeking out wisdom from those older than you?
Are you reconciling your differences with others that have led to bitterness?
What are you doing to love?
Jason Kinzel-Youth Pastor