This summer I have a job as a day camp counselor at my town’s branch of the YMCA. This is very similar to what I’ve done the past two summers, which is work at sleep-away summer camps, but the key difference this summer being the absence of an emphasis on Jesus.
One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do is hear kids talk about their less than ideal home lives, be bullied, be excluded and marginalized, and really just witness their pain without being able to look them in the eyes and tell them “hey, Jesus loves you, He cares about you, your pain is in His hands.” I know my purpose is to let Jesus shine through me by my actions and interactions, more than by my words, but not being able to blatantly speak out the truth of the gospel adds another obstacle.
As I was watching one of the directors do an object lesson about bullying in which each kid had to crumple up a piece of paper and then try and smooth out all the creases, an impossible feat, which led to the conclusion that bullying damages us irreparably, my heart ached to tell those kids that no matter what pain they’ve had or have Jesus can make them whole again.
In the midst of my lamenting conviction washed over me. The Lord asked me how many people I come in contact with everyday that have pain in their lives. The answer, of course, is an innumerable amount. He then asked me why my heart doesn’t ache the same way for all of humanity. Why I can walk through the grocery store or pass people on the bike trail and not think twice about what they’re carrying and how Jesus could carry it for them.
I was floored.
Its easy for me to care about the kids I’ll be spending all summer with, just as its easy for me to care about my family and friends.
But what about everyone else? How can I let my heart be so calloused?
Its not enough to simply extend Jesus to the circle of souls you come in frequent contact with. Our charge, our command, is to love the world as Jesus loved the world, as He loved the whole world.
It got me thinking, if I cared for and prayed as fervently for my cashiers and fellow cyclists and people who I shop next to at Target, as fervently as I pray and care for the people I know and love, if every believer prayed and cared ecstatically and radically for all the people they come in contact with, how much could our cities and nation and ultimately the world be transformed?
Its not enough to only be Jesus and hurt for those directly around us. As believers our hearts should cry out for every soul that doesn’t know Him.
If we lived this out, as we’re called to, just imagine.
Imagine where Jesus could go and who could meet Him.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life
For this is what the Lord has commanded us, ” ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ”
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”