I know a boy who likes going to the forest either alone or with his friends. When they go together they build dens. It’s fantastic! They get on well together and help one another.
But is it easy to like those who don’t like us, those who want to do us harm, or those who don’t agree with us?
A child might say to his/her parents, “I don’t want to play with that boy (or girl) at school, ‘cos he/she says nasty things and annoys me. I don’t like him (or her)!”
Let’s look at what God’s Word says: “Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.” Proverbs 17:17
But what do we mean by the word love?
Here’s what is says in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 10, verses 17 to 22 :
As he went out into the street, a man came running up, greeted him with great reverence, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to get eternal life?”
Jesus said, “Why are you calling me good? No one is good, only God. You know the commandments: Don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t cheat, honor your father and mother.”
He said, “Teacher, I have—from my youth—kept them all!”
Jesus looked him hard in the eye—and loved him!
He said, “There’s one thing left: Go sell whatever you own and give it to the poor. All your wealth will then be heavenly wealth. And come follow me.”
The man’s face clouded over. This was the last thing he expected to hear, and he walked off with a heavy heart. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and not about to let go.
Despite the reaction of the young man, Jesus continued to love him.
Some other men – his disciples – left everything to go with Jesus. Jesus loved them too.
In Luke’s gospel, chapter 5, verses 1 to 11, God’s Word tells us what happened to four fishermen, their boats and their nets: Simon, his brother Andrew, James, and his brother John.
Once when Jesus was standing on the shore of Lake Gennesaret, the crowd was pushing in on him to better hear the Word of God. He noticed two boats tied up. The fishermen had just left them and were out scrubbing their nets. He climbed into the boat that was Simon’s and asked him to put out a little from the shore. Sitting there, using the boat for a pulpit, he taught the crowd.
When he finished teaching, Jesus said to Simon, “Push out into deep water and let your nets out for a catch.”
Simon said, “Master, we’ve been fishing hard all night and haven’t caught even a minnow. But if you say so, I’ll let out the nets.”
It was no sooner said than done—a huge haul of fish, straining the nets past capacity. They waved to their partners in the other boat to come help them. They filled both boats, nearly swamping them with the catch.
Simon Peter, when he saw it, fell to his knees before Jesus. “Master, leave. I’m a sinner and can’t handle this holiness. Leave me to myself.” When they pulled in that catch of fish, awe overwhelmed Simon and everyone with him. It was the same with James and John, Zebedee’s sons, co-workers with Simon.
Jesus said to Simon, “There is nothing to fear. From now on you’ll be fishing for men and women.”
They pulled their boats up on the beach, left them, nets and all, and followed him.
Yea, why not follow Jesus? Why not be with him every day? Why not accept him as a friend? Being with Jesus is more than just a fishing trip!
Oh, and by the way, the four men discovered how much Jesus loves each individual person, small or big, rich or poor, even those who do not agree with him.
God is Love. Jesus is the only son of God. He came to earth to tell us just how much God loves us. He loves you and will always love you, every day. Stay close to Him!