Loving God and Others

While Jolene was getting ready for her next week in the classroom, she left her seven-year-old sons Trevor and Rick at home close by. They stayed busy for hours with their newest project in the living room—a camouflage tent or a giant spider web—as long as the yarn held out.

“Look at this! We’ve got a whole basket to use!” they decided.

In the rural area far from town, the boys and the other teacher’s family were the only ones on the school ground on weekends when the families didn’t travel into town.

When Jolene came home from the classroom, she faced a labyrinth of her yarn from the ceiling to the walls woven and tied like a spider web stretching from one end of the room to another. Any knitter would have been able to make three long-sleeved sweaters from their raw materials.

“What is this?” Jolene wanted to know.

“It’s to keep Mattie out. She’s a pest and comes over about six times a day. No girls allowed! We don’t like them!”

Jolene choked down her laughter. That will change. “Now, boys. Mattie is your neighbor and the only other kid to play with for miles around. Besides, doesn’t Jesus tell us we are to love others?”

“Yeah,” the twins answered together.

“Scaring her away on a Saturday when the three of you have the whole weekend to play doesn’t sound like love to me. She gets lonely, too. You have each other. She’s the only child in her family.”

Just then, the doorbell rang.

Trevor answered the door without enthusiasm. He wasn’t excited to see his neighbor. “Oh, hi, Mattie.”

The smiling blonde batted her blue eyes at her playmate. “What a cool thing you’ve built here! What is it?” She leaned in to admire their work.

Each of the boys stood a little taller. “It’s a camouflage tent. But no girls…”

From the kitchen, with a loud cough, Jolene reminded them of their discussion of love.

Trevor finished, “…have ever been in it before.”

“I have an idea!” Mattie suggested. “What if we have a tea party inside? I can bring my tea set.”

“That sounds sissy to me,” grumbled Rick in a low voice.

“But we can have a camping party instead,” Trevor suggested. “You know, hot cocoa…and ah… cinnamon toast! Yum! Mattie, my brother can show you how to make the toast, can’t you, Rick?”

“I guess.”

But the boys’ love and hospitality bloomed during the project and all three had fun together.

God is about love. His love is the beginning and it’s for always.

“We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” [1 John 4:19-20]

All need love to survive physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Even scientists agree. Showing and telling someone you genuinely love them is as important to nurturing relationships as food, shelter, water and air.

Babies thrive with love and cuddling. Men and wives need to show in actions and tell each other often how much they love each other. Love and positive appreciation for growing children makes the difference between their soaring and just scuttling along.

God’s love is more than just the average dose. It’s huge, boundless and beyond the limits of anyone’s imagination. “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”  [Ephesians 3:17-18]

Have we thanked God for this gift of love? Have we thanked him for Christ? Have we told him how much we love him?

Along with praise and thanks in our prayers, can we tell God and Jesus how much we love them?

Loving God and others can begin with the words “I love you.” Add a camouflage tent made of enough yarn for three sweaters, showing love to a neighbor and you’ve got it all!

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. She lives in northeast Arizona with her husband, Ed. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]