Loving Like Jesus
Bible Reading: Ephesians 4:31-5:2
As I pointed out in yesterday’s post, we were saved not just to enjoy the manifold blessings associated with being loved by Jesus, but we became His children—His channels of blessings—that the love of Jesus might flow through us, touching the lives of others. We are to “walk in love, as Christ loved us” (Ephesians 5:2). Today I’m going to share a testimony which I trust will be an encouragement to you, regarding how God can work in this manner to use any of us in an incredible fashion!
There was a time when there were no believers in my family. And not just in my family but in all of my extended family–grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. Not a single one of them knew the Savior! About a half-century ago God changed all that.
Three teens from Lewis and Clark Bible Church in Astoria went out knocking on doors. Their goal was to share the gospel and invite folks to church. They’d traveled to the nearby town of Seaside and happened upon the house where my Uncle Bob lived. Back then, Bob was a long haired hippy type guy–a not so uncommon lifestyle in the 1960s and 70s. Uncle Bob was into drinking and drug use and such. He knew nothing about God, or the Bible. When the teens knocked on his door, he invited them in. They probably soon wished he hadn’t! He poked fun at them and gave them a hard time until finally they decided it was time to leave. But they hadn’t neglected to invite him to church. When they returned to the church they asked for folks in the prayer meeting to pray for him.
For some reason, the thought of going to church stuck with Bob. He decided to attend, but his intentions were not good. He was a logger at the time, so he went to church wearing his dirtiest, smelly logging clothes. He took his pickup and deliberately left his dog in the bed of the truck, parked close to the church, knowing full well his dog would bark incessantly during the service. His plan? To prove to those churchgoers they were nothing but a bunch of hypocrites, which would be revealed when they chased him out of the place. But that’s not what happened.
He stayed through the service, and when it was over an older gentleman was walking to approach him. “This is it,” he thought, “he’s going to tell me to get out.” Instead, a man named Arvo Seppa warmly greeted Bob and told him how glad he was that he was there. Guess what happened next? Bob came back. And kept coming back. Soon he heard the gospel and was saved. His life was completely changed. He was going to Bible studies and serving at the church. Before too long he was teaching a Sunday School class. Then God used him to lead his bartender brother, my Uncle Frank, to the Lord! Later, both Bob and Frank went to Bible School and trained to become pastors. Bob and Frank were both praying for me and I came to know Jesus. And guess what God did after I completed my Bible school training? He brought me back to serve as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, the church where the first member of my family was saved. Then God kept me there for 27 and ½ years.
Bob and Frank have faithfully served as pastors in their respective churches for these many years, their ministries have blessed a countless number of people. Bob is the US Director of Hope and Mercy Mission, a mission directed towards assisting believers in Uganda. Bob’s been to Uganda many times. Frank and I have both been there too and on one occasion we all traveled there together. We’ve taught in numerous Bible conferences and preached in many churches. The mission now works with well over 200 pastors and churches. God led and provided 5 years ago that a Bible School for pastors could be started. So far that school has trained over 50 pastors, to better equip them to preach and lead in their churches. They are all so incredibly grateful! Mission teams have also worked to provide Bibles and conduct all sorts of vital and helpful ministries. In the past 12 years or so, dozens have gone on these teams and hundreds have supported the work–all of them loving like Jesus. As you can see, God has worked in incredible fashion to bless an entire region in Uganda. It’s been an amazing thing to behold and be a part of!
When I served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church I had the opportunity to speak with one of the three teens who had gone out knocking on doors. I asked her if she could have ever imagined the extraordinary blessings which would ultimately come about as a result of that long ago visit,and of course she said couldn’t have. Who could? But stop and think about the matter for a moment. We are to “walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us” (Ephesians 5:2). Three teens were“walking in love” when they set out to tell folks about Jesus. Some folks at the church were “walking in love” when they took time to fervently pray for the hippy fellow the teens told them about. Arvo Seppa was “walking in love” when he compassionately reached out to Bob. The church family was “walking in love” as they showed no partiality and instead bathed Bob with the love of Jesus! Isn’t it amazing what God can do through his children when they are imitating Him, by walking according to the example of Jesus (Ephesians 5:1-2). He has some amazing things for you to do too. Acts of love done in Jesus’ name will be used by God in unforeseen ways! No doubt part of it will involve “loving like Jesus!” By the way…over the years, there are many others in my extended family who have now trusted in Jesus!
Simple Acts of Love Done in Jesus’ Name Can Have Amazing and Far-Reaching Effects
Heavenly Father. How incredible Your wisdom and Your grace in the way You work in making Yourself known to us! We look back in our lives to how You’ve intervened and our hearts are filled with gratitude. That You would purpose to use any of us in Your plan is amazing. But here we are incredibly blessed to be Your beloved children. You’ve not only saved us from our sins, You’ve purposed to conform us to the image of Your Son! You’ve filled us to overflowing with Your love, so that it might spill over onto the lives of others. How amazing that any of us could hope to be imitators of You, but You’ve commanded us to that very thing! Grant us the wisdom and grace that we might indeed walk in love, just like Jesus did! To Your honor and glory. Amen.