Friday Love

Back when I was a youth minister 15 years ago, it was our church’s tradition to take a youth missions trip every summer. Sometimes we served right here in Tennessee, sometimes the trip was to a large city like Philadelphia, and sometimes it was down the eastern coast. One year, we went to Florida to do some very hard and exhausting work. Three hurricanes had passed across the state that previous fall, and we would be repairing rooftops and replacing garage doors for the people of Avon Park, just south of Orlando. We went in July when the temperature was over 100 degrees, and the humidity was 200% (or at least it felt that way).

One of our high school students went with us, but he had made it very clear to me that he did not want to go. He told me that his parents were making him go… was his one and only week in the summer to possibly NOT have anything on his schedule, and he wanted to rest and have some down-time; his parents had other plans. In a way, I felt for him, but I also knew what God can do when we serve alongside one another. Well, at first he was not having it…..just a sour and grumpy look on his face the first two days. However, as he participated in something that helped other people, and as he met new friends, by the end of the week, he was having a blast and loving every minute of his time serving the people in Central Florida who had lost so much in the previous hurricane season. He made new friends. He grew in his faith. He was filled with love.

By the end of the trip, we were all very tired. I know he was particularly tired, because I had watched him be transformed into a nonstop working machine. On our way back to Tennessee, we stopped at a church to spend the night. A couple of the pastors and members of that congregation’s youth group greeted us when we arrived, helped us with our bags, and got us set up to spend the night at their church building. I remember one of the pastors looking over at him and asking, “Are you tired?” With a big smile on his face, he responded, “You bet I am…..I don’t think I’ve ever been this tired! But, this is the best kind of tired I have ever felt!”

I know a lot of people are tired right now. Tired of this virus. Tired of social distancing. Tired of not being able to resume life like we once knew it. Tired of not being able to go out with friends to restaurants. Tired of not being able to attend church and worship together. I have heard many people say, for one reason or another, that they are simply tired. And I get it!

But what if we turned to serving others in love as a way to combat this tiredness? Yes, serving people is also very tiring work. Checking in on others, making phone calls, writing notes, reaching out in whatever ways we can. Yes, this can be very tiring work for us. But like that young man, I can promise you that it is the best kind of tired ever! So, why don’t we fight our tiredness of this pandemic with the self-emptying life that Jesus has shown us? Serving one another, our neighbors, our family, our friends, complete strangers……. serving one another in love! Yes, it is tiring work. But the reward is beautiful: it brings about a peace that surpasses all understanding, a joy that is unspeakable, and a love that is deeper than anything we can ever explain with words.

Just a little bit of Friday love for you as we go into this beautiful weekend! We miss you all, we love you very much, and we are praying for you!

With Love,
Pastor Brad

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