Updated: Dec 17, 2018
What does it look like today to love like Jesus loved?
It looks like showing up. It looks like doing more than what's required or expected of you.
There was a season in my life when my mom was in the hospital a lot due to a crazy amount of kidney stones, issues with her nerves, a random seizure, and many other things the doctors continued to keep discovering. It was rare to make it more than 48 hours without someone saying we were headed back to the ER. It was not a fun season for me, my dad, or my brother as we watched mom continue to be in pain. I think each of us secretly had an emergency bag of our own made up of activities to do at the hospital, a spare change of clothes, and an extra toothbrush just in case. Actually, maybe that one was just me. I like to be prepared.
During this tough season, there are a few moments that have left an impression on me even still today. These are the moments when people showed up. When my small group leader showed up unannounced at the perfect moment to give me a big hug. When one of my mom's friends sat with me for hours in the waiting room. And when my best friend spent the night in the hospital with me and mom and on another occasion showing up at our house with a bag full of Sonic breakfast burritos for the whole family after a long night at the hospital. That was when I was introduced to the amazing wonder that is salsa on eggs.
Why are these moments so impactful? I think it's because I never asked any of these people to do any of these things. Lets reverse the roles. I think of what I needed in moments of stress, sadness, or loneliness and I remind myself that others need the same things that I needed. Loving someone else isn't rocket science. It's as simple as a hug at just the right moment, or a surprise breakfast burrito. Showing up for someone looks like jumping into the mess with them. If we are going to love like Jesus we can't sit on the sidelines and just offer the often insincere line of, "I'll be praying for you." just to forget about praying 2 seconds later. Jesus was all about action.
Bob Goff has recently become more well known and anyone who knows him would agree that He loves people well. More than well. In his books "Love Does", and "Everybody Always" he tells story after story where he took advantage of opportunities the Lord gave him to love people well. And that's just it. Opportunities are everywhere. We all encounter lots of people, but to start out let's just focus on your circle of influence. How can you show up more for them? What are they going through that you can walk alongside them in?
“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.”-Bob Goff
It's not going to always be pretty. And it's most often going to be messy. But to be more like Jesus we have to sacrifice our comfort and convenience and show up for others where they are.
Here are a few practical ideas that I have used to show love to others:
Write a letter saying how much they mean to you
Make a care package for a sick friend with no family in town
Show up in the waiting room to offer a hug and a prayer
Babysit for free while parents deal with real life problems
Cook a meal for someone who just had surgery
Buy someone coffee or a meal and be present with them in intentional conversation
Offer a ride to an elderly neighbor
Tell friends and family what you love about them
Offer to pick the kids up from school
I'm positive there are hundreds more of great ideas. Let's serve each other better. Let's love each other better. There are opportunities everywhere. You just have to show up.
“...love is never stationary. In the end, love doesn’t just keep thinking about it or keep planning for it. Simply put: love does.” -Bob Goff