The Challenge: 40 Days of Love
Our church has launched a 40 Days of Love Campaign based on God's commandment to "...love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself." Yikes.
I am also leading a small group of women during the study, which, by no means on God's green earth, signifies that I have this whole "love" thing wired. It just means that now I have to work harder at "love" because I am asking others to work harder at it too. Yikes.
I made the grave mistake of telling my children about "40 Days of Love" and the fact that I cannot get frustrated with people in traffic because I am working on being more loving. Word of advise: Never tell your children that you are working on a character flaw. They will hold you accountable more that you ever wanted to be held accountable. I speak from experience.
Since we are challenged to memorize scripture each week I took up the challenge. The verse is only six words, "Let love be your highest goal." I Cor. 14:1
I have the verse posted on a sticky note in my car as a reminder. The challenge is not remembering, it is in acting.
The other day I passed by a homeless guy while I was jogging with my youngest in the stroller. I have a tendency to fall on the side of "all homeless people are either addicted to drugs or alcoholics and beg for money in order to feed their addiction" so, even though I was carrying my wallet in my stroller, sped past, ignoring his slight built, filthy clothing, and painful shuffle as he walked.
No sooner did he feel the breeze of my stroller as I passed by did the verse, "Let love be your highest goal" pop into my head. At that point I had a little talk with God, and told Him that I was not going to give an addict money to help fuel his addiction,
I continued on my jog.
Three seconds later the words, "40 days of love" popped into my head. I had another talk with God. I told Him that I am a loving person most of the time, but I wasn't going to turn my stroller around and give a homeless guy cash.
I continued my jog.
Three seconds later, I pictured Rick Warren acting out the motions to the verse, "Let love be your highest goal." At that point I had another talk with God. This time I told Him that I would just leave the money on the sidewalk or stuff it in a bush and the homeless guy could find it on his own. I was not going to turn my stroller around and jog in the opposite direction. I was on a time constraint.
I continued my jog.
Three seconds later the word "obey" jumped into my head. This time I dropped my shoulders, turned my stroller around, ran up to the homeless guy, and handed him a five dollar bill. At first I told God that I was only going to give him one dollar, but the five was sticking up farther than the one dollar bill in my wallet. I figured that this was God's way of telling me to give him the five dollar bill instead of the one.
After much prodding, I obeyed. Obedience feels much better than disobedience. God's patience is amazing.
I'm trying to practice being more loving, however, sometimes it just takes God having to ask me two, three, or four, times. I am a work in progress, which God, thankfully, does not mind working with.