My Own Backyard
I believe that all of us have asked at one time or another "what is love?" After all the definitions, stories, and other sources are used to tell what love is, it can be summed up as "a strong attachment or an affection for someone or something." Let's take a moment to consider and think about love.
God Shows Us Love
Our heavenly Father showed us the greatest example of love when He sent His only son to this earth. John writes: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). Jesus then walked among men while teaching what one must do to be saved (Mark 16:15-16). He then took all the sins of man to the cross with Him where He suffered and died and arose again so that we might have forgiveness of sin. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). God certainly showed us what love is, in that out of a strong affection for man, He sent His Son to save man.
The Love We Show
There are many individuals around us that show their affection to Jesus by the way they live. But often we are too busy to notice the love exemplified by those individuals even though they are in our "own backyard.” We have not stopped to "smell the roses" as we travel down life's highway. Look around, what do we see? Do we notice those in our congregation that are letting their light shine for Christ as evidenced by their love? If so, based on their strong affection to serve Him, in what ways do we see Jesus living in them? There certainly is love out there among us -- we just have to look for it.
A dear sister in Christ stopped long enough to see what love is as she penned this beautiful poem:
My Own Back Yard
I was sitting and wondering what is love,
The kind described by God above.
How will I know it, how will I see,
God please show this love to me.
I was wondering, hoping for an answer to my prayer,
Then suddenly I understood, it was everywhere.
I saw it in a couple who had a loved one slip away,
And came to worship that very same day.
I saw it in a woman struggling with ill health,
And never once showed she felt sorry for herself.
I saw it in a couple so elderly and frail,
Who always are so friendly and attend without fail.
I saw it in a man who gives his time to teach,
Because the lost he loves and wants so much to reach.
I saw it in a preacher who's not afraid to cry,
And say how much he loves us and for heaven we must try.
I saw it in his wife, who tries God's ways to live,
I saw her daily walk and that she has so much to give.
I saw it in a woman that who through unfailing love,
Has done so very much to help me know God above.
I saw it in the families who teach their children right,
And have not given up the struggle no matter how hard the fight.
I saw it in the teens who gave in to their peers,
And came and repented, their eyes filled with tears.
I saw it in the ones who always come alone,
When their spouses chose to just stay home.
I saw it in friends that have done so much for me,
They are always there to encourage and to uplift me.
Lord help me to remember when my search for love seems hard,
I only need to look in my own backyard.
When we are doing our part for Jesus Christ then our light (love) will shine brightly. Jesus said: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matt 5:16). It is through our love that we encourage and uplift one another. In this troubled world, we often only need to turn and look in our own backyard for an example of the affection that others are showing toward Christ, realizing that God gave them the greatest gift of all. And as a result, they are showing their love in return. Let us always strive to "consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works" (Heb 10:24).