One of my favourite verses in the Bible happens in Mark chapter 10 during the story of the rich young man, which you may or may not know. The basic story is that this young man comes to Jesus and basically asks how to become a Christian [without using the language of ‘Christian’ which had not been invented yet] and Jesus gives him a response and the man walks away sad because the ask is too big.
The verse, well actually just part of a verse, that I enjoy so much from this passage simply says this, ‘Jesus looked at him and loved him.’ [vs. 21]
What is interesting about it is that Jesus says it before the young man walks away. I have always believed from the context of Jesus life that He has a very good idea of how the story is going to turn out and probably knows that the young man is not going to accept His message at all. But it is still noted that Jesus looks at Him and loves Him [it was clearly evident to the writer].
The question it has left me with relates to interactions between me and people I want to share the love of Jesus with. If they end up not being interested, do I write them off and move on to the next person, like a one man Jehovah’s witness squad? Or do I look at them and love them? And continue to be friends with them and pursue relationship, not because of them maybe one day making a decision to follow Jesus, but because God has called me to Love everyone around me.
If my response is anything less, then firstly I am not following the example of Jesus and secondly I am regarding my interaction with this person as nothing more than an attempt to ‘earn another notch for my belt’ to one day hold up to God when I stand before Him [He will likely vomit!]
So the journey I am on is one of trying to really Love the people around me. Not because of anything they can give me, or even anything I hope to share with them. But simply as a response to the great Love that has been shared with me from God through Jesus. Of course, given the chance or invitation, I will gladly share with them the greatest thing in my life that has transformed the way I live and think and speak… but that should never be my sole intention.