It was such a small gesture that I would have missed it if I weren’t paying attention. She had her own things to do. There were errands to run. There was work to get done. There were a million excuses that would have legitimized her not getting involved with this situation.
There was something that needed to get done at the church. It was not her area of responsibility. It was not in her “job description.” If she had said “no,” no one would have though ill of her. But without hesitation, she volunteered herself to do it. It meant putting all the other things she had going on hold. It meant hopping into her car and driving across town to accomplish the task. But she did it – willingly.
What struck me was how joyfully she did this. There was no complaint, no deep sigh, no rolling of the eyes. She just jumped into it – with both feet – as if she really wanted to do this. But I knew better; this was a huge inconvenience to her. She was making a sacrifice. And this was not “I’m doing this so you like me” codependency or an “I’m a doormat, walk over me” victim response. This was a genuine sacrificial response to a need.
I would not have responded so graciously.
If I was available to do the task, I might have considered doing it. But I would have let the person on the other end of the phone how much this was costing me. I would have hemmed and hawed and gone through a list of other people they could ask to do it – and use me as a last resort. And I would have made sure they knew that they “owed me” for this one.
As I watched her do this, I realized I was witnessing a person who was being transformed; someone “becoming love.” She was a person learning to subject her own interests to the interests of others, under Christ’s leadership.
I believe the secret to her transformation is that she is a whole life worshiper. She experiences God’s love daily. She hears the voice of the Holy Spirit and is learning how to say “yes” to Him every time. At times it is hard. At times she fails. And sometimes she has her selfish moments. But this wasn’t one of them.
Her response to this need was like watching a major league ball player hitting a 100mph fastball over the center field fence. Her response to deny herself and place someone else’s interests above her own was like a “lightning fast reflex.” No thinking, no inner argument. Just, “Yes, Lord!”
People who really surrender to Christ’s love become love. It takes time. It takes intentionality. It takes an ongoing thirst for God. It takes a thousand bad experiences of saying “no” to Jesus; and slowing down enough to examine and weep over each one. It takes a few risky “yes” responses where the Lord then takes you on an “E ticket ride” (that’s a really fast roller coaster ride – for those of you too young to know how Disneyland used to operate) and you see how He always comes through in the end. It takes a ruthless, desperate honesty to confess to God that you don’t have what it takes to live for Him; so much so that you beg for His mercy. And how wonderful and glorious it is when His mercy indeed comes!
I believe I’m on the same road as her, but much farther behind. I’m beginning to notice the “real deal acts of love” when it comes by me, though. I know it’s real because my heart glows whenever I witness it. I get a little choked up over it. It gives me a longing and inspiration to be like that myself. Those real deal acts of love don’t have to be great or significant in the eyes of the world (and most of them aren’t). But they do have to be “God.” They are the things that Jesus would do.
Blessed are they that do them, for they become love.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Your attitude should be the same as Christ Jesus. (Phil 2:3-4)