Most of us have heard the phrase, love is spelt TIME. This truth is something we need to constantly be reminded of as the demands on our time are ever increasing and love can easily decrease in our lives. Love is so miraculous, when we insert love into situations everything seems to change.
My sister, Natalie has taught me so much about love. We love partnering together in life whether we are developing my kids, pursuing each other’s heart, dreaming about the future or simply running errands. I’ve always said that she is my greatest teacher, and this story proves why. Natalie and I were out on the streets with our “Christian agenda” of street ministry. That is a nice way of saying we weren’t forcing evangelism but we weren’t just out shopping for fun. Let’s be real, we were on a mission, we wanted to go back to the church with testimonies of healings and salvations.
Street ministry is a great thing for every Christian to experience. I don’t love it or feel like I’m gifted in that type of outreach. However, I often lead teams just because I love seeing people take risks and activated in love. That being said we need to be so careful that we don’t turn people into a project, or have an agenda when we go, because having these goals or thoughts naturally violate and defile our love.
Jesus never made anyone or any people group a project. He was never out in the city with a plan of pursuing social justice, He pursued love. He expects the same mindset in us and made it clear when He said, “All men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another,” (John 13:35). We are to be known by our love.
While out on the streets we came across some young kids who were dirty, smelly and high. Our kind of people! We stopped to talk to them, to just let them know that they are seen and not invisible. It became clear once we engaged in conversation with them that they were so high, in fact, that anything we said might not be remembered or bare any weight in their hearts. But insert love here. Even if they didn’t remember what we said, they could remember how they felt in our presence.
Then my sister did something that I will never forget. She grabbed this one kids’ hands and started playing hand-slapping games. The kind that you do as a kid in the back seat of your car that inevitably lead to too much noise and your parents’ eyebrows getting involved. As she did I saw light fill this young man’s eyes. He sobered up for a split second, as he encountered a moment in time with love.
I could see him in my imagination, when he was young in his home with his family. I could see the sweet boy full of adventure and wonder. I could see him being loved on by his family through hugs, nudges, and getting tucked in. And I could see how this current act of love and affection had sobered him up to what he was longing for, but not currently experiencing.
Love in a moment can be powerful enough to change you forever. The days of bible thumping, self-righteous living, and Christian debating need to end! There is no win with those tools. Pastor Shawn Bolz says, “You only have authority over what you love.” When we are ministering to those around us, our primary goal should be to get in touch with authentic love. Then see if there is enough authority to open someone’s heart up. If not, consider not even pursuing the ministry opportunity. Let go of the desire for a story.
As believers we can feel so much pressure to evangelize when all we need to do is recognize the “moment” when it arrives. The moments in time of love, where those around us feel God’s heart, not our agendas.
Redefined by Grace, Christina Andriese
Born and raised in Southern California, Christina Andriese currently lives in Murrieta, CA with her husband of 10 years, Ian, and their three incredible children – Aria, Ethan and Luke.
Christina loves to take in any and every opportunity to connect with people’s hearts and to encourage them to become the best version of themselves. Her dream is to see the church awaken to her full potential – to see humanity walk in freedom – ignited by hope, empowered to dream, and equipped to operate out of the resurrection power that Jesus provides!
When she isn’t homeschooling, chauffeuring, ministering or working, Christina enjoys napping, going to the beach and reading.