“And this is my prayer; that your love may abound more and more…” 1 Philippians 1:9
“May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else…” 1 Thessalonians 3:12
Now, there’s a huge challenge in God’s word. It’s not an option. We are commanded to grow in our love for others.
Love should never be put on a diet. It has to expand.
We expand in our knowledge of God as we read his word. We expand in our faith as we walk through the trials of this life. But how do we expand our love?
To grow in love, we must add more people into our lives. Every time we open our heart to someone new, we open a new path of expansion. We gain a few heart pounds.
Because God is such a compassionate God, his training regime is so much fun. He feeds and expands our hearts with grandbabies.
Those precious little babies enter a family and turn everything upside down. Just when we think you can’t love any deeper; here comes a newborn.
Our hearts threaten to explode from our chest when we hold that bundle in our arms. I imagine its something like an elephant squeezing into a peanut shell. Or more appropriately, its like the Almighty Creator God squished into a newborn’s body lying in a manger.
The blessings of grandbabies: We don’t care that they can’t love us back. We know they will someday. We don’t care that they are so much work because we know someday they will work along side us. We’re counting on future rewards and it works for us.
When we put a stopper on our heart, we fail miserably. When we see the hurting empty lives all around us, we have to say, “If God can grow my heart to love this baby, He will grow my heart to love my neighbor, my boss, my classmate, the homeless family, the abused child, the orphan or the widow.
Now here’s the best part. If God blesses me with such amazing joy and maturity because I willingly love this baby, how much more would He bless me if I chose to love those who may never return my love.
I must choose to love because whether it’s family or strangers, we are never promised a future return.
I welcome Caleb Drew Jones to my heart. My heart expanded a whopping 8 pounds on April 3. It will continue to grow as he does. I’ve already received the first smile and my eyes leaked from the overflow of joy. I’m anxious to hear the first giggle, to have him grasp my finger, and ultimately squeeze my neck.
But I think the greatest blessing is the lesson Caleb’s already taught me. Go out and find others to love because God is faithful to his promises. As I open my heart, He fills it with more of Himself and that expansion can then love others.
“It’s never too late.”
I’m in the car driving the one-mile to Mesa Community College.
“I’m not too old.”
I parked the car and compared the campus to the map. X marks the spot; I see the bell tower building.
“Please, don’t let me do anything stupid.”
I enter the Admissions office. My eyes scan the room. Dozens of perspective students turn their deadpan expressions my way and bore quickly.
“Good, I didn’t make an impression. Now what?”
To my right I spy the computer sign-in system. I add my cell-phone number, sit in the last available seat, and wait. In unbroken sequence, three clerks call four digit numbers, tired eyes scan the room, but no one moves.
“Lord, what are those numbers? What am I to do?”
Someone in the back asks the question that I’m too embarrassed to verbalize.
“Thanks Lord, for nudging that woman instead of me! Now, don’t let me forget my cell number and miss my turn.”
The room feels full. I shouldn’t label but I will. There are gothics, jocks, under-dressed girls, young marrieds, young lovers not married but physically locked together, and one person older than me. Wait, that’s a mother with her daughter. Yes, I’m the oldest student in the room.
“I hope my daughter isn’t bothering you?”
Whew, a welcome distraction glues me to my seat. An adorable two-year old is playing at my feet and her parents want to chat. Before long, I’m sharing with the daddy what I’ve learned from the writer’s conference and dozen books I’ve read on writing fiction. You see; God placed next to me a young man enrolling in the same classes I’ve selected.
“Thanks Lord. Not only did you help me not look foolish but you allowed me to help another who knows less than me. Amazing!”
My number is called and three minutes later I walk out a college student.
“You know Lord, if it’s this easy, I think I’ll go to ASU next year and get a masters in English and then, well who knows what I can do now.”