Watchmen Nee wrote that his mentor, Margaret Barber, cared more about life than work. She focused on loving the people God brought her way rather than the work she needed to get done.
What a beautiful focus.This is my desire as well, but too often loving people gets lost behind the pressure to get things done.
A few months ago, I needed to get the name of diabetic test strips which would be covered under our new insurance plan. My pharmacy told me to call my doctor. My doctor told me to call my insurance company. My insurance company referred me to a third party, which handled pharmacy issues.
After navigating a labyrinth of computer generated voices, I finally spoke to a person. His name was John. His voice was slow and shaky. I had the call on speaker and my wife and I could tell John was elderly, probably in his seventies.
John didn’t know the answer to my question and suggested I call my pharmacy. When I told I had, he suggested I call my insurance company. I tried to calmly explain that my insurance company was who told me to call him.
By this point, I had no compassion for John. I really just wanted to mark this nagging to-do off my list. I didn’t care what John might have been going through. I’d lost sight of any opportunity to love him.
John put me on hold so he could try and get an answer. While we waited, my wife helped me see the situation differently. She could tell he was having a difficult time. She felt bad for him.
When John got back on the line, he had an answer. As he explained it, my wife made a signal for me to pray with him. This wasn’t on my radar, but when he was done, I said, “John, is there anything I could pray for you about?”
“Yes,” John answered quickly. Then a silence.
“What can I pray for you about?” I repeated.
“My salvation,” John cried out.
I prayed with John right there on the phone, though I’m sure the call was monitored. I prayed he would recognize God’s tremendous love for him. I let him know God was willing to allow His Son, Jesus, to die in his place to rescue him and to give him eternal life.
When I finished and said goodbye, we could hear what seemed to be sobs from John before we hung up.
What a wonderful interaction. But I almost missed it. I was so focused on getting things done, loving John had dropped from consideration. I’d lost sight of the most important thing.
Jesus, on the night before his crucifixion, gave his disciples a single great command. He told them that as they followed this one thing, they would stay connected to his love and their joy would be made complete.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.” John 15:12
Earlier in the evening, in John 13, he’d washed their stinky, dirty feet. The next day, he would endure a cruel death on a cross to save them.
This is how he’d loved them. This is how he’s loved us.
His one charge to them, and to us, is to love others in the same sacrificial way he has loved us.
It’s not the work. It’s the people. The things we do are not an end but a means to bring us to the people God wants us to love.
As we yield to God’s Indwelling Spirit, he will accomplish the work he wants done through us. The work will get done as we focus on loving people.
Our job is to love first. It’s really all we need. Maybe the Beatles had it right after all. (8^>
Prayer: Most gracious, heavenly Father. I’m sorry I so easily get caught up in the swirl of duties that love becomes secondary. I see you all around me in your creation and in the people you bring my way. Please help me trust you that the work will get done. I’m asking you to change the paradigm of my day to care less about accomplishments and more about loving every person you bring my way.
 John 15:9-12