HIS Store, HIS Love
“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35
I live so much of my life without a plan. I seem to just land places. Sometimes I discover, sadly, my flesh has led me there and am reminded that it is displeasing to God when my flesh leads the way. Other times, and I so desire this, I land places to find confirmation God’s Spirit lovingly led me there. Like the day I found myself walking through the double doors of a local thrift shop headed for the little room of books. I have been drawn to books for as long as I can remember, to reading and writing them. Given my exhaustion and singleness of purpose, I didn’t notice the thrift shop was not yet open. A volunteer kindly informed me I had walked in too early because the volunteers had forgotten to relock the door after entering in to ready the store for Saturday’s usual inpouring of customers. I told the volunteer how tired I was from ministry work, explaining how hard it is for me to slow down and rest, and sharing with her how reading Christian books is one of the few things that helps me rest and not work more. She graciously let me stay. We chatted for a good while.
The next thing I knew, I was invited to join the circle of volunteers as they joined hands and prayed before opening the store. Over the next two hours, I perused through the books, making stack after stack of books I wanted but wondering if I should get them all given my low income. Various volunteers came in to say hello. One volunteer led me out to show me dog supplies after learning of the ministry’s dogs, offering to give me whatever I could use and telling me to let him know of future needs. Another volunteer warmly invited me to meet her husband who is Jewish like I am but hasn’t yet realized Jesus is the Jewish Messiah and Savior of the world. The manager lovingly offered a suggestion about finding support for my ministry and made the decision to give me all the books I had chosen at no cost. It was like I lay in a hammock of the Lord’s love as He used His children – the volunteers – to minister to me.
When I thanked the manager a few days later for the warm welcome in her and their store that has God in its name, whose profits are distributed by a local church to other organizations that give, she corrected me. HIS store. God’s. I couldn’t help but think as I reflected on all this of the scripture above. The “Christian” name of the thrift store was neither here nor there. What said everything was the genuine demonstration of the love of the Lord Jesus Christ that poured in and out the front doors. How can the world recognize genuine followers of Christ if it is not by the fruit of His love?
Are you bearing the fruit of Christ’s love? Bear His love!