International Ministries

Give Yourself Away

March 29, 2012 Journal
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Being on home assignment is a mixed blessing. It means the joy of getting to spend time with our family and people we love, but it also means spending an exhausting amount of hours on the road traveling to speaking engagements. There are good things about all this travel, though, my favorite being that we meet so many amazing people.

Yesterday we were sitting with a pastor who was telling about their church's focus, which is “give yourself away.” He talked about ways that his folks are learning to really love others and give themselves away to them, and how it's changing their lives. He was excitedly sharing about what is going on with the people in his church. He probably didn't know he was feeding my soul and inspiring my mind.

This morning, my bible reading was from Matthew 22:37-39 where Jesus talks about God's greatest commandments: “... love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, AND love your neighbor as yourself.” I was thinking how Jesus linked these two commandments by saying that the second one is “like” the first one. My first thought was, “Jesus didn't say it that way by accident, so could it be that each of these commandments contingent on the other?” In other words, is my ability to love God and connect with him directly related to the degree to which I give myself away to others and love them?

In our conversation with the pastor, Michael shared about his work in Congo at the Pastors' Institute. He talked about how awesome it is to get to work with Congolese pastors like Pastor Mbu, who is the director of the Institute – a man who loves God with all of his heart. He talked about how Pastor Mbu and his wife spend their lives loving and mentoring the pastoral students and their wives, as well as the rest of the people of Kikongo. I was reminded of the many times he came to our house after hearing that one of us was sick, how he would take the time to pray with us, and would often bring a precious gift of food sent by Mama Mbu. That gift meant that someone in their family would sacrifice a meal for us that day. These are people who truly love God AND love their neighbors as themselves. They are a great example of what it means to give yourself away.

Jesus, of course, is our perfect example. As we celebrate Easter, let us remember all that he gave away for us, and be inspired to do the same for others.

Much Love,

Jill & Mike Lowery

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends... John 15:13