I just completed an outreach with a few other church members in a local town near our church and as I was headed back to my car to go home a short and simple thought came to mind. “God loves people.”
The people we had spoken with that night were only moderately interested in our conversations about God and offer to pray with them. Yet, for every lukewarm response or even flat out rejection, I felt the heartache of God for these individuals. There was not even a hint of condemnation or damnation for those who did not find a compelling need for God or prayer, but a longing sense of God’s love for them.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." (John 3:16-17)
It is easy for any of us familiar with these well known verses above to read them through by rote and not consider the weight of their proposition. Here is my humble paraphrase of these monumental verses:
“God loves people so much that He was willing to sacrifice the one person nearest and dearest to his heart for their redemption. God would never put himself or His Son through such agony for the purpose of turning people away. Instead, He longs to see all people redeemed and restored to new life in Jesus.”
The implication and application of the simple truth that, “God loves people” is equally simple and profound. It requires us each to ask the question, “How does my love for people compare to God’s love for people?” Inevitably, for every one of us, there is a gap between God’s agape love and our human, finite love. It is in that gap that our prayers must be lifted up to God in petition for His love to fill us.
Secondly, we want to take the love of God within us and allow it to empower us to demonstrate God’s love through us to the world around us. It is for this one grand purpose that God has us here as his representatives on earth. “For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.” (Acts 17:28)
God loves people. Go and do likewise. (Luke 10:37)
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