458 – Neighbor Love
Today my dear friend and colleague Jim Angelakos offers a beautiful insight. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. — Pat.
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” — Matthew 22:37-39 Many years ago I discovered this amazing verse being lived out in the life of a man.
We had just relocated into the area and were checking out churches. We did not want to be noticed, wanting just to slip in and out of church. Well, that was not going to happen. Not while Walter was around. He was on a mission — the mission of sharing God’s love with everyone around him.
The next several minutes were remarkable. Walter welcomed us, and then asked a very simple and engaging question: “What brings you folks here today?” That was it — nothing else. He then listened to us intently. He did not interrupt us; he just listened, all the while smiling.
After sharing for several minutes, we realized that we had been monopolizing the conversation. We had run out of time; the service was starting and we needed to move into the sanctuary. We thanked Walter for welcoming us and listening to our story. Walter’s final words I still remember today: “Welcome to our church. We’re honored that you’re here; we love you, and more importantly, God loves you.” We left that day feeling welcomed, encouraged, valued and loved.
In just a few moments, Walter managed to intentionally live out Matthew 22:39: “Love your neighbor…”
Now, eighteen years later, our family worships and serves in that same church because Walter took it upon himself to make us feel loved. I still remember his words and actions — to the point — so that it’s now become my personal ministry everywhere I go.
Jim Angelakos serves pastors and leaders as a National Ministry Consultant at Man in the Mirror and is the Administrator of the Man in the Mirror Weekly Bible Study. Jim’s daughter, Christina, also works at Man in the Mirror.
#458 © 2012. Patrick Morley. All rights reserved. This article may be reproduced for non-commercial ministry purposes with proper attribution.