Below our apartment is a sidewalk. A lot of the day the sidewalk is in the shade. On that sidewalk sits a bench. That bench sits in front of an ice cream parlor. Underneath the window of that ice cream parlor grow beautiful red Geraniums. A person could hangout on that sidewalk all day long, sitting on a bench, eating ice cream, while gazing on those pretty flowers. Not a care in the world all day long. Just nice and comfy, eating ice cream on a bench. But God doesn’t want us sitting on a bench, in the shade, on a sidewalk. He wants us on the streets and out into the world. He wants us in the uncomfortable places. Uncomfortable places are where He does His best work because those are the places He’s needed the most.
Jesus was a carpenter. He could have just made Himself a bench. He could have had a comfy seat outside of His shop, in the shade, eating Chocolate Babka while gazing at the Gladiolus growing in His mother Mary’s yard but no, God had His Plan. Jesus knew what He needed to do. He stepped out from the comforts of His shop and went out into an uncomfortable world. He was laughed at, spit upon, called Satan, crazy, arrogant and ungodly. He was tortured and hung on a cross. He knew what would happen to Him, but He did what God needed Him to do. Some were saved, and some weren’t, but He tried and He loved all of the people, still.
I hear a lot of people say they love their animals more than people. I see people in love with the phone in their hand, or in love with themselves. I see a world turned upside down because our love is more for other things than for God and each other. Yeah, it’s hard to love some people because they aren’t going to always welcome us with their tails wagging and a wet kiss. It’s hard to love the lost, the ugly, the selfish, the liar, the lazy, the drug addict, the thief, the murderer. It wasn’t hard for Jesus though, and aren’t we supposed to be like Him? He came not only to die for our sins, but to teach us and show us what God expects from us. God created us to love Him, and to love each other. He created us to get off of the sidewalk and go out into the world to plant seeds of Salvation. It’s uncomfortable at times, but we know what God needs us to do. Not everyone is going to like you. They may laugh at you, call you crazy and arrogant. Some will be saved, some will refuse to make a change, but you don’t know what can happen until you take a step off of your safe sidewalk. Take a step out onto the streets and into the world…. and love all of the people, still.
“And so I am giving a new commandment to you now—love each other just as much as I love you. Your strong love for each other will prove to the world that you are My disciples.”—John 13:34-35
And then Jesus told them, “You are to go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere.”—Mark 16:15