A note from Sara: The following post is written by my precious niece, Elizabeth Williams. Elizabeth is a beautiful, fun-loving college student. She also happens to love Jesus with all of her heart. When Elizabeth was a little girl, she went to see the Easter program at the First Evangelical Church in Tupelo, Mississippi. For years they put on an incredibly anointed drama of the story of Jesus. One climactic part is a scene in which Jesus, sitting on His throne of glory, is holding a large book. As He sees the joyful ones entering into the glorious heavenly realm, He marks off their name in the book. That night, when my brother was putting Elizabeth to bed, she asked, “Daddy, what was that big book that Jesus was holding at the end of the play?” “Why, honey that was the book of life. Jesus writes the name of all of His followers, everyone who knows Him and is going to heaven, in the Book of Life.” Elizabeth thought for a moment, and then looked up at her dad and said, “I want my name in that book, Daddy.” And they both kneeled down beside her bed and took care of it then and there. That was the start of her beautiful relationship with Christ. And now she has taken the opportunity to share the love of Christ with children in Honduras. I know the seeds of love she planted there will lead many to know and experience relationship with Christ, so they too will have their names written in the Book of Life.
I am very proud of my niece. Read below and I know you will understand why.
“..The Greatest of these is Love..” Honduras 2015
“It’s not what you do, but how much love you put into it that matters.” Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life
They will know we are Christians by our love. In John 13, Jesus gives us the greatest command of all. He says, “A new command I give you: Love one another as I have loved you. By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Did you catch that? Everyone will know we are followers of Jesus by the way we love. This week I was able to travel to San Matias, Honduras with an amazing team from Pinelake Madison, and love has been the prayer over our Mission Team from the very beginning.
Months before we left for Honduras, our team had decided that we were praying for our primary goal for this specific mission trip was for us to be known by our love. To be known by the love that we have for the Father, and to be known by the love we have for others. Jesus has been teaching me a lot about love this summer. I would say that it has been “my word” over these past couple of months. In May, one of my best friends gave me her Giving Key with the word “love” on it. Everyday as I put on this necklace, I pray, “Jesus, show me what Your Love looks like today. Teach me how to love like You.” It has been incredible to see the blessings that He has poured out day after day from me praying that prayer, and learning to fully embrace the word that is on this key. For me, this key is a constant reminder of the love that Jesus has for me, and His Love that He wants me to demonstrate to others. As I was praying and preparing my heart to travel to Honduras, Jesus brought me to 1 Corinthians 13:3-7 that says, “If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.” This rocked my world. It is not about what we do, or even how well we do it. If it is not done in love, it means nothing. If we don’t love, we don’t have anything.
Throughout our week in Honduras, I was able to experience the love of Jesus in so many different ways. I saw the love of Jesus in the way that our team bonded so quickly and loved each other so well. I heard the love of Jesus when we were lifting up our praises and worshipping in different languages. I saw the love of Jesus as an 86-year-old Honduran woman teared up as we prayed over her and her family, and blessed their house. I felt the love of Jesus when a little girl fell asleep on my shoulder after a long, fun-filled day at the water park. I could hear the love of Jesus in the laughter of His children as we did Limbo, blew bubbles, and made paper flowers. I saw the love of Jesus in their smiles. I felt the love of Jesus when we played Headbandz and were laughing and in fellowship with one another. I saw the love of Jesus in the sunrise, and I felt the love of Jesus when the cold raindrops hit our faces after a long day of work. The Love of Jesus is so real and so present all the time, 24/7. We just have to open our eyes and our hearts to ask Him to help us grow closer to His Heart and to experience the radical, unchanging Love that He has for us.
I am so thankful for the unfailing love of Jesus. I am so grateful for the people that I encountered and for the people that I grew closer to this week who loved me and those around them so well, and who showed me what the love of Jesus looks like. It was so raw and so beautiful, I am forever changed by the way that I was able to experience His Love this week. My challenge for us is this: That we would take this raw and beautiful love of Jesus back home to our families, to our friends, to our neighbors, to our workplaces, to our community. May we be known for our love. The love we have for the Father, and the love we have for those around us. After all, the greatest and most important commandment that Jesus gives us, is to love.
“The best use of life is love. The best expression of love is time. The best time to love is now.”