Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Greatest of These


It was during the final message, before we all left for our various prison ministry hubs throughout the state of Alabama, that the Lord started to work in my heart about my need for a greater love. The pastor who was speaking was talking about compassion, and love, and what it means to have these two rooted in who we are.

"Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, 
and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned." 
-1 Timothy 1:5

This message and his text (above verse) touched my heart so deeply. I found myself longing for a love for each of those prisoners, those many souls I would be meeting the coming week.

I wanted more than just an overall feeling of pity. Pity comes easily enough when you enter prison and see people who so desperately wish they could change their circumstances and where they are. These people are at the end of their rope; at the bottom of the bottom, and your heart would have to be made of stone to not feel something for them.

But this day, I felt myself wanting more than that. Wanting to feel more than just pity for the masses. In my heart, I desired to feel an overwhelming love and compassion for each person I met. I wanted to see them as more than just another unfortunate person with a tragic story. I wanted to see each of them as beautiful souls, whom Jesus had placed in my path for me to love.

The next morning, in my quiet time, I read the love chapter, Corinthians 13. The last verse sums up the whole chapter beautifully: 

"And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."

I began asking the Lord, the beginning of that week, to change my heart and give me a deep, genuine love for each person. And He answered. He confirmed through messages, songs, + verses throughout those next few weeks. He confirmed through prisoners who thanked us for bringing love to them, for loving them individually. It was a wonderful thing to see Him direct and bless in this little area of my life.

"Lord, break my heart with compassion, as I see them passing by,
Traveling down the road to nowhere, trying to fill the void inside."
Forgive me when I judge them, when I don't take the time to care,
You have given me this glorious news, yet I neglect to share
I'm guilty, Lord, of focusing, on the little things in life
Forgetting that you put me here to point others to Christ."
-"Through Your View"

I've realized that it's more than just these prisoners for whom I need love. I want love to be the thing that drives me. Love for Jesus, first of all. And love for others, next. The only way to have this true love, is for me to allow Jesus to pour it into my life, so that I can pour it out onto others.

"When God puts love and compassion in your heart towards someone, 
He's offering you an opportunity to make a difference in that person's life. 
You must learn to follow that love. Don't ignore it. Act on it. 
Somebody needs what you have. " 
-unknown

This last quote speaks volumes. So true. God gives us the love, and then calls us to act on it---to follow. This is our call. Will we step out and allow God to fill our lives with this amazing love of His?

Praying this love + compassion will fill YOUR heart today!
-Chels