1 John 4:19 We love because He first loved us.
Last night we had dinner at the apartment of our five Kurdish students who are studying English in the Meridian Program the college has. What a blessing it was! It was more than having a meal together – and the food was wonderful!!!! Five other friends involved with these students were also there and they are so dear to us as well. The time together was truly a love feast. It was a time to be together with people we have grown to love – and who love us.
It’s amazing how much has happened and how deep our relationships with all these friends have grown in the few months we’ve known them. Fortunately, Donna was at the heart of the process to facilitate the details of the coming of the Kurdish students. God used that process to begin the building of friendships that we believe will last a lifetime. These people have become family – the Kurdish young men like sons.
It all makes us aware of the relational opportunities that God gives us if we take advantage of them. In our two years here in Franklin, God has blessed us so incredibly with the number of friendships that have developed – friendships that are noteworthy in terms of how meaningful these people have become to us – and we to them. People we want to see
again – people who are more than just a chapter in our lives.
We have been in tears repeatedly at the warm expressions of love and appreciation that have been poured out to us. And we feel the same about these individuals. They have touched our lives so wonderfully. Most came through the college where we worked and the two churches we attended in our time here and include a significant number of non-Christians.
What a humbling experience it is to be so blessed by the people around us. The privilege it is to touch their lives – and be touched – with the love of Christ. After all, Jesus is at the heart of it all. We are called to love one another. We are called to love those around us – and love is so much more than a feeling. It’s being there for people without any ulterior motive.
The goal is not to be loved by others, but for them to be loved by us. The principle is similar to giving: we don’t give to get. We love because our God first loved us! Jesus makes it possible. May we have our eyes opened to the opportunities God has placed around us – and share with them the love we have from Him.