1 John 4:8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

I was blessed this past Monday to receive a gentle reminder of something that was taken from me and has since been restored to me through Jesus Christ.

I attend a men’s bible study every Monday night. During the class our leader has been routinely asking for volunteers to serve in the children’s ministry for one night due to a shortage of help over the past several weeks. Let me be candid when I say I did my best to avoid the request, not out of fear (well maybe a little) it was more like I didn’t feel adequate to the task.

But that’s not what 2 timothy 3:17 says does it?

2 Timothy 3:17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

As it turned out my group leader called me Sunday evening to say that two of the guys scheduled to help the children’s ministry had to back out last minute and he wondered if I might consider stepping up to help out. I am fairly certain there was a voice in my head screaming NO! This isn’t something you can possibly do you are a freaking introvert! But another voice very confidently said “sure”, I hung the phone up slightly dumbfounded “where did that come from?”

1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

Monday evening arrived and I found myself somehow calm, I wasn’t sure if it derived from inner peace or resignation to what I had gotten myself into but mentally I was doing OK. All of us volunteers were lead to the building where the kids classes were and wouldn’t you know it I was assigned to the kindergarten and 1st grade class… (I’ve been told it’s like herding cats when dealing with a class of young kids)

Trepidation turned into celebration as I sat with the kids and watched their eagerness to share their memorized verses and homework questions. During the class I made friends with a little guy named Brayden, he had forgotten his bible so we were sharing mine, I sat and listened to him reading scripture to me pausing once in a while to ask the meaning of certain words. He asked me all sorts of questions that were on his thoughts; he was so full of curiosity! Just like me…

Just seeing the unconditional love in them, in that moment I thought “I have been thoroughly equipped”.

Jesus did so by restoring love in me.

We were given love when we first entered this world, our first experience was love. We loved everything, the rain, the bugs, other kids, it didn’t matter we loved just because.

Then somewhere along the way love became a reward and when we didn’t receive the reward?

We learned hate…

Love became conditional and hate became unconditional.

Matthew 5:43-48
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?

I was there…

Until Jesus restored what was taken from me and said, “It’s OK to love again, abide in me I am your reward”.

Romans 12:9-10 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

I am relearning how to love without reason and it is so intoxicating!