“Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way.” Donald Miller in Blue Like Jazz
I love this line from Donald Miller’s book. Miller was talking about how some people learn to love something – like jazz music or God – because they witness someone loving jazz music or God and it moves you. You can’t argue with it and sometimes it doesn’t make sense yet the evidence is in front of you in how a person loves.
A few summers ago our youth group worked with a guy named Joe while on mission in Oklahoma City. Joe was a volunteer with a food bank and was in charge of their community garden. Joe loves vegetables and dirt and compost. He loves worms and fish waste and all things organic. Joe loves sustainable living and the natural world. I bet, at Joe’s house, he powers his toaster with a bike and showers in rain water he collected in his back yard. I loved being around Joe in the garden because Joe loved the garden. When a tilapia would defecate in the water, Joe’s eyes would light up. So many beautiful, organic things happening around him.
Joe’s love for his garden made me want to garden. His love for pooping fish made me want a pooping fish. His love for vegetables made me …. well, it was a start. By experiencing Joe’s love and passion for gardening, I was curious and even a little motivated to see if maybe this was something I could really love, too. And that, my friends, is rich soil where seeds are planted.
If we could fall madly in love with God in response to God’s mad love for us and just let that ooze out of us in every way possible, people will notice. The way we love is our most powerful witness yet Christians are often known for hate than we are love. People who really love like Jesus are weird. People like Mother Theresa and Shane Claiborne weird. Like Jesus weird. People can’t help but watch them. And maybe these same people don’t love God. Maybe they even hate God. But they can’t argue with genuine love and when they see us loving others extravagantly and generously, maybe they will be a little curious and maybe even a little motivated to see if maybe this is Someone they could really love, too. And that, my friends, is rich soil where seeds are planted.