Who Jesus Calls You to Love
Oh wow, school is officially in session. And there was something about this “back to school” season that got my introverted-self especially excited.
For the first time ever, I spent the summer away from little old Hawaii and made a new sunny home out of Spokane—and if you know Spokane, you’d know that the sun is a very special guest in this Pacific Northwest city.
It was interesting to carve out a different meaning for a place that I’d only ever associate with school and friends. It felt new and familiar at the same time. It was such a wonderful season of independence and growth. But by the end of it, I was so very ready for my people to be back here with me.
I’m sure many of you have come to know this phrase. In fact, some names and faces are probably making their way into your head at the sound of those words. I know so many sweet people come to mind for me.
But this summer got me thinking: how did these people become my people in the first place? I didn’t really get to “choose” a handful of them (hehe hi mom); the majority of them aren’t the same ethnicity as me; a lot of them are from completely different cities; not all of them hold the same religious views as I do; we major in an array of things (proud of my science-based majors); and we all find joy in a bunch of fun hobbies and long-time passions. Sure, things overlap, but my people are pretty different from each other, and from me. And maybe I’m not as quick to notice those differences as I am when it comes to people who I don’t deem as my people.
We're cautious and particular about who we love. We feel that there are expectations that must be reached and conditions that must be met before we can forgive, help, care for, listen to, motivate, champion, defend, or understand someone—all of which are just a few shapes of love.
But 1 John 4:19 says, "We love because He first loved us”.
My people make me feel known and heard and valued. My people became my people because I let them into my story. Seeing them as a part of my story doesn’t leave much room to focus on the differences. So I can’t help but wonder what would happen if all people were our people?
Woah, I think we’d love a lot like Jesus loved.
We all have our inner circles and our best, dearest friends. They are the ones that walk in the everyday with us. Jesus had that, too. They were called His disciples. But who were those men before Jesus let them into His story? They certainly lived very different lifestyles from Jesus. But because He saw a story instead of difference, they became His people.
The Bible speaks of the many shapes of love that He so freely gave away. Jesus loved Peter as he began to sink into the ocean in the midst of his doubt. Jesus loved the Samaritan woman at the well who was ignored and shamed by the rest of society. Jesus loved a man who completely lacked the ability to see since birth. Jesus loved Lazarus as he laid in what became only a temporary resting place. Jesus loved Mary Magdalene when she was the very first person He appeared to on the third day. These were His people and the ways in which He loved them.
Anyone and everybody. Boldly and unconditionally. Over and over again.
Like Spokane, I struggle with seeing only a certain face to love. But I’m learning to carve out a new meaning for an action that I’ve been reserving strictly for “my people.”
Jesus shows us that love lives everywhere. Love abides in everything. Love is made for my people. Your people. Our people.
Here we are, with our expectations and checklists, debating whether or not someone is worthy of our patience and our kindness. If this person can become my person. And there He is. Drenching us in grace and clothing us in unending goodness. Reminding us that we are His people.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13)
Lani-Faith Lucas // @lanilucas
I'm Lani and I love all things sunny and sandy and I have my little island of a home, Oahu, to thank for that. I'm a senior at Gonzaga University #gozags and Spokane has gifted me a heart for servanthood and storytelling. I hope my career is filled with sweet kiddo laughs and lotsa grace for people who once seemed so different from me. I look at the dessert menu before reading the actual menu; I can't wait to be a dog mom; I'm a big flower field girl; and I just loveee meeting pieces of Jesus in others.