Help me to love with open arms, like You do
A love that erases all the lines, and sees the truth
Oh that when they look in my eyes, they would see You
Even in just a smile; they would feel the Father’s love*
These lyrics became my prayer on a recent humanitarian outreach trip to the Middle East. My inability to quickly connect with people felt like a weakness, a flaw that rendered me ineffective in ministry outreach.
But God encouraged me with the story of the Good Samaritan. He called me to join the outreach team to do good for people in a culture different than my own. The Samaritan didn’t preach, teach, and possibly didn’t talk much to the injured man he helped. His actions, not words, made all the difference. His example is one Jesus would have us follow. Be kind to your neighbor. This is the reason I traveled to a place I never thought I would go.
God also revealed to me that the commandments given to Israel during their desert wanderings were intended to set them apart. Their lifestyle was to be a testimony to the nations around them.
From a Bible in a Year devotional:
God intended them to be a highly visible example both as to the nature of the God they worshipped, and as to the quality of social justice embodied in their community. In other words, following the example of the Good Samaritan has an evangelistic consequence.
When we live the life God asks of us, people take notice. Our lifestyle is a testimony. How we behave, how we love, how we show kindness matter immensely.
As I read God’s word at the conclusion of my trip, I sensed His love for me. He revealed that nothing I do in the name of Jesus is without effect. Although I recognize I need to do a better job of using my words to share Jesus, God affirmed through His word that my time in the Middle East was in fact effective.
*Chorus of “For the One” by Brian Johnson and Jenn Johnson