Thinking back on my time in DTS and on outreach, I’ve concluded that I’ve never felt more love from a group of strangers than I did from the little children in the Haitian village we went to on outreach. They are so ready to receive love and that love then pours out of their generous hearts back to those who are loving on them.
I realized this is how it is with God. When we allow His love to wash over us every day, we become filled and ready to pour that love back to Him which means pouring it out on those He loves–anyone and everyone around us. Along these lines, one of my leaders preached a sermon towards the beginning of my time on outreach that is still impacting me to this day. I’ve spent a good portion of my life asking for more faith. I’ve pursued faith, radical faith, continually. Now although faith is a great thing and I do believe God has given me a gift of Faith, I was suddenly challenged and humbled as I listened to my leader preach a simple yet profound message in a very tiny and crowded church in Azua, Dominican Republic.
Why have I spent so much time asking God for more faith and so much less time asking God for more love? I’ve heard and read 1 Corinthians 13 more times than I can possibly remember. 1 Corinthians 13. The “LOVE” chapter. You know, the one that says if you don’t have love you have nothing? The chapter that says there is nothing greater than love? You know…”Love is patient, love is kind, etc….” This is not a new passage to most Christians and it certainly was not new to me. But all of a sudden, it hit me in a new way when I compared it to my pursuit of Faith. “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” [1 Corinthians 13:1-3]
Wait, say what??
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom ALL mysteries and ALL knowledge…ALL KNOWLEDGE!! That means I would know EVERYTHING there is to know! And if I have a FAITH that can move MOUNTAINS…isn’t that the greatest faith we can imagine?? But even if I have all of that and do not LOVE, I am nothing. NOTHING!!
If this really is true, then shouldn’t our prayers every single day be more like…
…”Lord, I need more of your love.”
…”Jesus, teach me how to love better.”
…”Father, I want to be consumed with your love.”
I realized that I do not want to be someone that is characterized by people as just someone of great Faith.
I want to be known as someone of great Love–someone who embodies the love of Christ.
I want to be remembered not as Hannah Pickens, a Woman of Faith.
I want to be remembered as a woman who gave away her life on behalf of other people.
I want to be so consumed with love that people would look at me and my life and as a result would experience the radical love of Jesus.
So from this point forward, my prayer is no longer just to have more faith, though yes faith is necessary. But my new prayer is something like this: “Jesus, I want to let You love me more so that I can love like You have loved. I want to fulfill Your greatest commandments not as a duty, but as a way of life. Let me experience Your love in a greater capacity every day so that I cannot help but pour out that love to the people around me.”