Those others. People not in my immediate family. Those others played a huge role in my life: the Hispanic family down the street that knew just enough English to share the gospel with me (It was the seventies; I was nine and it was the first I’d heard it); the girl in fourth grade who prayed with me for salvation during an after-school playdate (I was ten); accompanying other friends to church on Sundays because my family didn’t go (I was eleven).
Oh, didn’t He pursue me?
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life … Psalm 23:6 (NLT)
And He did it through others. The man on the college campus offering me a Bible (I was nineteen and angry. I refused it); I was cleaning a kitchen when a client’s grown daughter asked me what church I attended (I was twenty-one, and curious); a new neighbor inviting my husband and me for dinner, her husband praying before the meal (I was thirty-two); a former math teacher catching up through the years with me, encouraging me to give my children a religious foundation (I was thirty-four with a toddler). How many more professions of faith in Christ did I meet along the way? So many others on this journey, all of them influences.
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. Psalm 24:1 (NLT)
Jotting down notes in Leviticus, struck by the occurrence of others: love them, provide for them, stand up for them, be fair. These others–they might be called native-born, foreigners, rich, workers, poor, elderly, neighbors, deaf or blind. Talking about how one should treat others, and wasn’t that me?
Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. 1 Timothy 4:12b (NLT)
Grateful for these words, this encouragement for others … to love them, provide for them, stand up for them. It’s how Christ’s love was portrayed to me, as an other. All part of His goodness and unfailing love. What an honor to be part of His plan to influence others in love.
Lord, as I move through my days, help me to see opportunities to love others–starting in my home and extending out to those who may be far from you. I pray that my example would glorify you–leading people closer to you and not further away. I thank you for your relentless, tireless pursuit of me, using others to love me–boldly making you known.