When people look at your life, do they see a passion for Jesus that goes far beyond any other affection in your life?
We have defined missional as “a renewed theological vision of the church, serving as a sign, servant and foretaste of the kingdom of God.” Joining God on mission means more than just hosting BBQs in the neighbourhood. It means that we bear witness to Christ in everything that we do.
We love God with all of our hearts, minds and strength, and in our love for God we love our neighbours as ourselves. When we love Him with our hearts, we put Him above all else in our lives and learn to worship Him in a way that points others towards Him. In this first of several articles, we will explore loving God with our hearts from a personal perspective.
Harold Wakeford loved Jesus with all of his heart. It was obvious and it was contagious.
When I was 17, my family moved to England where my dad became a pastor of a Baptist church. I remember the first Sunday well; it was complete culture shock. During the morning gathering, Harold stood to his substantial feet and began to bellow in prayer. He thanked God for his breakfast—the cereal, the toast, and even the honey on the toast. He thanked God for the bees flying from flower to flower collecting the stuff that made the honey. He went on and on thanking God at the top of his voice for everything he had experienced that day.
What I noticed about Harold of course was his enormous joy. It was infectious. There were likely things not to like about Harold, but it was sure hard to deny that this man was filled with a joy that any who met him wanted to share in. He loved Jesus to a depth I have not seen in many others, and Jesus had made a huge difference in his life. And Harold took a liking to me. A year later when I returned to Chicago to go to university, Harold began to pray for me every day and would meet with me when I would come back to visit my parents in England.
Harold’s life was not always easy. He had been injured, captured and held as a prisoner for a number of years in the Second World War. When the war ended and he returned home to England, he was not a man with any business skills and so became a gardener. This was never a great paying job, and so he and his wife lived humble lives. They were simple folk that loved Jesus. And it showed. Harold was known for his steadfastness in gardening, but also he became an itinerant preacher and quickly gained a reputation for his passion for Jesus.
I spent many years wanting to be more like Harold, because I saw Jesus in him. I wonder how many people have a desire to be more like me, because they see Jesus in me?
Do you have someone like this in your life? Would others consider you a person of infectious joy and love for Jesus? In my next article, we’ll take a look at Proverbs for some insight into how we can grow into loving God with all our hearts in a missional life.