How deep the Father’ s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure,
That He should give His only Son,
And make a wretch His treasure.
It has been almost 3 weeks since the Baltimore STM team has returned from Maryland. Since returning from our short term missions trip, and coming back to work, with all the duties and responsibilities that follow, I realized how blessed I was to be able to go on this trip, and have an extended time, to both share and examine my faith.
One aspect of my faith that I was both encouraged and challenged with was in hospitality and loving others. Seeing how Baltimore Bible Church (BBC) not only was hospitable to guests and their own church attendees was such an encouragement. From the time we arrived at the airport in Baltimore, and was taken care of by Pastor Matt, to the palpable love extended by the church members (lots of hugs and one-sided cheek kisses when meeting our LBCSJ team), to our interactions with BBC throughout scatter week, we were overwhelmed with hospitality. It was especially nice to get to see how a like-minded church worshipped on Sunday, and to see the church members interact with each other. Their commonality was Christ, from the youngest children, to the most mature saint.
We were never treated like strangers, and were welcomed with open arms. After our time at the VBS kids camp, the church members would gather to have a brown bag lunch, which was made by a wonderful married couple. The wife was not feeling well with vertigo, but both the husband and wife still continued to shop for, and faithfully pack and prepare at least 30 brown bags lunches for the entire BBC outreach team everyday. They made the sandwiches, packed chips, fruit, and a sweet dessert. The only day the wife missed being there a lunch was the day she went to her doctor’s appointment, but her husband was there to hand out the prepared lunches.
Another way BBC showed us hospitality was to be gentle and loving with us. During dinner, I shared how I was nervous to street evangelize to strangers with Mama Trudy (P. George’s mama). Mama Trudy gently encouraged me, not only by giving me tips, but literally took my hand and partnered with me for my first two days during our street evangelizing time. She led by example, showing me how she approached strangers to engage them in conversation, and used reassurance and love.
My challenge to you, dear reader, and to my beloved LBCSJ, is to examine how you yourself and corporately as a church love others-- both to church members and regular attendees and to the friends, acquaintances, and non-believers in your lives. How do we outwardly show love, not because it’s the right thing to do, but because of our love of the Son, and His work for us on the cross? How do we consider others’ needs first and not our own? How do we grow in love, knowing that Christ has loved us first?
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
– Ephesians 5:1-2