AGAPE - def. – 1. The love of God or Christ for humankind.

2. The love of Christians for other persons, corresponding to the love of God for humankind.

3. Unselfish love of one person for another without sexual implications; brotherly love.

I have had two instances this week that this term has come up and I’ve found myself thinking about it often. I was already familiar with the term & it’s definition, but my thoughts were on how different the world would be if we (Christians) practiced this in our daily life.

Tonight I was reading "Outlive Your Life" by Max Lucado and he was sharing a story about a Christian school who’s football team had a great record, great coaches & was strongly supported by community & parents. This team was scheduled to play a state team who never had a cheering section. The head coach asked if half of their own fans & cheerleaders would be willing to sit on the visitor's side & cheer for them. This in and of itself would be shocking in most communities, perhaps even more so because the opposing team would be playing in handcuffs with guards as their only spectators. These young men were from a correction facility. Those who volunteered to be fans for the other team even learned the names & numbers for the young men so they could cheer for them by name. At the end of the game, both teams met on the field for prayer & one of the boys from the state school asked if he could say the prayer. He thanked God that there were still people who would care enough to cheer them on. The boys received a meal, a personal letter & a Bible from the team & fans before heading back to the correction facility.

I tell you this story because I know that we are all guilty of judging someone as unworthy of our attention because of how they look or what "group" they are in. Who is that for you? Convicts? Illegal immigrants? Welfare recipients? Druggies? Prostitutes? Emo teens? Those with strange tattoos or piercing? Those with different political views? The list could go on & on. In Jesus’ day, the outcasts were many of the same…even tax collectors, lepers, Samaritans. But Jesus was all about breaking down barriers. The people that the pharisees looked down upon…those were the very people Jesus CHOSE to hang out with!! Rather than seeing them as problems, Christ saw them as OPPORTUNITIES!

Do we even realize how God could use us if we can overcome our prejudices? We have a choice when we see someone who is different than us…do we neglect or rescue? Label or Love? If we as Christians are not willing to "root for the other team" then who will?! Don’t let class, race, gender, politics, geography, or culture hinder God’s work. Be a bridge not a barrier, because in the end when we cross the field to cheer for the other side…Christ wins!!

    "Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory." Romans 15:7
Sometimes God uses the smallest things to catch my attention. In the middle of my normal cleaning, it hit me how much "stuff" we have. Unnecessary junk!! I don’t mean our clothes (although we do have an abundance!) or other basic necessities, but I mean the things that eat up our time/attention. Anything from knick-knacks to playstation to everyday clutter. It may be things we have kept out of obligation or sentiment.

I realized that at times I am so comfortable with my "stuff" that it keeps my focus on everything but my Saviour! Sometimes I am sure all this "stuff" makes me less willing to be available to serve God in the way I should ~ anytime & anywhere!

This verse jumped out at me today:

"What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift?" 1 Corinthians 4:7(NLT)

Everything I have is really God’s!! I have to remind myself of this often. Not only that but it says in Matthew 6:19-21 that we should be storing up treasures in heaven!! I need to take inventory on where my heart really is & maybe I need to clean house because ultimately do I want to allow the things God has blessed me with get in the way of serving Him?! HE should be the treasure that I seek!