That was the only thing he said to me. He asked if I loved people.
I worked behind the counter in the church cafe almost every weekend for nearly three years, and I had never seen this guy before. He was pretty nondescript, older, quiet, and as he paid for his small purchase, that was the question burning on his mind?
I looked at him, smiled, and told the truth.
“I’m getting there.”
He looked at me and walked away, leaving me standing there with the answer burning on my mind. What a stupid answer, I thought. Everyone knows if you love Jesus, you are supposed to love all people. Who was that guy, and why would he ask such a thing of someone he didn’t even know?
A few months later, something happened that rocked my boat. It reminded me of that question, and I decided I needed to take a break until I knew without a shadow of doubt that my answer would be pleasing to God.
God sent challenges and lessons during that time of rest and continues to do so. My mind was stretched, my patience was tested, and my whole world was upended for a while as I searched my heart that was still a little cracked.
I discovered it’s difficult to love without trust, and if I couldn’t trust God to take my troubles from me and handle them in His way, then I could never rightly say I know how to love.
Years passed, and the world was rocked with a crisis that forced even more contemplation but revealed God’s blessings through change. I received a boldness I never knew I had to do things I never thought I’d do, and we received confirmation and peace about our choices.
There is still turmoil swirling around the world, but the peace remains along with the knowledge that loving Jesus first allows us to love people. He shows us how and when, and all we have to do is respond and leave the results up to Him. It doesn’t matter how we feel about the people. What matters is how God loves them. It sure takes a load off.
I never saw that man again, but I have a feeling his own lesson on love was in asking me that question, and we are both walking a little lighter.
I love how that works.