Have you ever overheard a conversation unintentionally? Sometimes we accidentally eavesdrop and really, really wish we hadn’t heard the exchange. Familiar with the phrase, “TMI”? Too. Much. Information. It happens. It’s unpleasant. No one enjoys it.
But sometimes we hear wonderful, melodious things that make our hearts sing. Like our kids playing together and not fighting, or a boss complimenting our work to someone; the professor telling his assistant that there will be a pop quiz next class, giving you ample time to prepare. Things like this can make a bad day good and a good day better!
A few weeks ago one of our moms arrived to pick up her boys from 242 – the gathering of middle and high school students at Two Rivers Church. Being a few minutes early, she lingered in the kitchen of the church office, not wanting to interrupt the end of the meeting. The conversation she accidentally overheard took her by surprise.
The group of students and leaders had been discussing ways to share the love of Jesus with their friends, schoolmates, family, and others. There was horseplay, face-making, and general high school shenanigans, but eventually they got around to some more thoughtful answers. The students were coming up with some pretty creative ideas when one of them piped up with a remarkable notion.
Perhaps, he suggested, we should develop real, authentic relationships with people – the same way Christ does with us. At this, the unlikely audience listening in the kitchen perked up. Building authentic relationships is a cornerstone of our vision and mission, the very thing that had been driving so much conversation during Sunday services, and it was refreshing to hear the impact being echoed by the students.
Jesus doesn’t just love us because of our worldly accolades. We don’t have to be the most popular, or the best dresser, or the most well spoken person in our friend group to gain notoriety. He didn’t make a list of things we have to do before we were worthy of Him loving us, forgiving us, or delighting in us. That’s kind of the whole point – nothing we can do will ever EARN those things! Paul tells us, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Jesus loves us exactly as we are. His love is faithful and enduring. He also tells us to do the same thing – to love others the way He loves us: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)
It doesn’t get more authentic than that! Jesus himself tells us exactly how to live out the Gospel, and our students are taking his command to heart!
So here’s a big shout out to our students, and a reminder to all the rest of us: keep reflecting Christ in all you do, love others with the same fierceness that He loves us, and God will continue doing awesome work in you!