“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.” Psalm 42:1
“Thank you Lord for Lara whose love for you is contagious,” a friend said as she prayed for me one day. I lost track of what she prayed next, though God of course didn’t, as I teared up hearing the words she had prayed. Though I am exceeding beyond description in loving and living for and serving the Lord as I zealously pursue Him and my life’s calling to help people become and remain forever followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, I am not sure I had ever considered I might be “contagious” – let alone “highly contagious.” Isn’t being “contagious” about having a sickness, illness, or disease that can be given to someone or others nearby? Isn’t being “highly contagious” about being at exceeding high risk of getting others sick? I felt there was a message in this and sought the dictionary.
Merriam-Webster dictionary online includes in its definition of contagious, “able to be passed from one person or animal to another by touching.” Hmmm. As I had thought. Also, “having a sickness that can be passed to someone else by touching.” Yes, I had thought so. “…capable of being easily spread to others.” Yes, I had learned that as a child regarding chicken pox and colds. Now my ears were perking up. Lastly, “causing other people to feel or act a similar way.” Aha! Herein lay the message. My friend in her prayer to God had helped me see that my insatiable hunger for God, my indescribable thirst for Him, my immeasurable zeal to pursue Him with all my might, my out-of-control yearning to love, revere, praise, worship, honor, please, and serve the Lord, my unbelievable passion to help people find and follow Jesus forever are the “symptoms” of my contagious love for God almighty.
We all influence others in one way or another, don’t we? Some of us are “contagious”. Some “highly contagious”. Our hearts, words, actions, behavior, passions, dreams, enthusiasm, lifestyle, choices, decisions, conversations, interests, etc. are seen by the world around us, by loved ones, family, friends, co-workers, prison-mates, employees, teammates, classmates, homeless shelter workers, pastors, neighbors, store clerks, gas station managers, salesmen, teachers, strangers with whom we cross paths for but moments, prison volunteers, judges, people we meet at dinner parties, people who interview us, etc. Others not only see us; they can be influenced by us. We may “spread to others” and cause “other people to feel or act a similar way” by our very hearts and lives. For decades I was “highly contagious” with sin, brokenness, and total self-centeredness and self-pity. Now, I am highly contagious with my love for God.
Are you contagious? Highly contagious? How? Time to make a change?