I took this picture while ministering in downtown Los Angeles with the Dream Center. Of all the people I saw that week, this one picture I took spoke to me the most. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but this picture says so much more to me than that. I see a sad, strung-out homeless woman, a barefoot, shirtless guitar player in his own world, and a young man enjoying his music and eating his lunch just two feet away. It breaks my heart to see the sadness in this woman’s eyes. I wonder what she is thinking about all that is going on around her.
I think sometimes we forget that everyone has a story. As we run our errands, fill up our gas tanks and wait in traffic, we dismiss nameless faces who carry stories just like ours. There is a common thread among all of us…we all need Jesus. We all have stuff going on in our lives. My big ‘stuff’ doesn’t really matter when someone needs to feel the love of Jesus. We all need to feel love.
I John 4:7 says, “Let us continue to love on another, for love comes from God. Any who loves is a child of God and knows God.”
In the natural, I don’t love everyone. But when I became a child of God that love became part of my nature. If you know me at all or have spent any time around me, you know that a big part of who I am and what I do is spent just loving people. Loving people to Jesus. That’s what I love doing!
Our whole lifestyle should tell people, “If you come around me, I’m going to love you. No matter who you are, what you’ve done, how you look, smell or behave, I’m going to love you.”
This is agape love. Agape love first exists, THEN it affects the emotions. Agape involves the kind of love that cannot be compensated. This is foreign to us and to our culture. The mentality of this world leads us to love and give only when there is a reason to assume that our love will be reciprocated.
In John 3:16 we see that HE gave for us when we didn’t deserve it and had nothing to give back. Love means accepting people the way they are. We should be loving people to Jesus. We can’t worry about what people are going to say or think.
I want to encourage you to take a minute this week to stop and look at the world around you. Put the music on pause, let the traffic continue on and let the errands wait. Who do you see and what is their story? Maybe God wants to use you to love someone to Jesus.
- Sharon Anderson