God opened the doors and the people came in and sat down. The people
who came into His church came from all walks of life. Mostly, the people
who came in were poor and downtrodden but a few of the rich came too.
There were people who were divorced, alcoholics, and drug abusers. There
were parolees, thieves, muggers, murderers, rapists, molesters…what
society thinks are the lowest of the low. There were AIDS victims,
gamblers, prostitutes, and drug dealers. There were people who were
crying from grief and loss. There were people who suffered from many
ills. There were people who were handicapped in all kinds of ways. There
were people who were blind, deaf, mute, lame, and traumatized by life.
There were college professors and bus boys. There were people who were
low, depressed, and broken in spirit. There were people who were filled
Some of the people came to God's church to be with the Lord but
others came to take advantage of others. Some people came just to
socialize with other people and did not care about God. Some people came
as a matter of habit and they did not know why they came to God's
There were many people who did not come to God's church so God went
out into the streets, alleys, highways and byways, and He called them
into His sanctuary, but most of them did not listen or if they listened
they did not respond.
Of those people who did come to be with God, every person who came to
God's church had fallen short of His expectations.
When all of the people came to God's church He loved them regardless
of their background, or their problems, or their sin, or their race, or
their afflictions. But God did not just love those people who came in
and worshipped in His sanctuary. He loved everyone everywhere.
In God's church, you did not have to give a tithe or offering in
public. In God's church, all the giving was secret and no one knew who
gave what except God.
When the people came into God's church He was patient with them for
He knew some of them would take time to learn how much He loved them.
God was patient and knew that some of the people of His church would
never understand or accept Him as He needed them to do, but He still
For those people the world had rejected, for those people the world
wanted to execute, or to imprison, or had imprisoned, God was kind to
them. He showed them mercy and grace no one in the world had ever shown.
Although their hearts were hardened and they rebelled against Him, God
could see the spark of His spirit in them, so He kept on loving them,
even when they turned away from Him.
God did not try to get people to change by yelling at them or
screaming at them. God did not find fault with His people or show them
how far short of His expectations they had fallen. God did not tell His
children how much better He was than they were. God did not try to
invade their heart or mind, for He respected them. God did not try to
give His people ultimatums about changing who they were. God did not
threaten them. Instead, God protected them from further harm. God
comforted them, even the ones who wanted nothing to do with Him, for God
knew how much pain and anguish they were in.
God did not get angry at His people even when they did things against
Him. Instead, God shared with them His warmth and His truth. God reached
out and touched them in love and compassion. God poured out Himself for
them. God sacrificed Himself for them.
God never abandoned them. God never let them get lost, for if they
wandered off, He would go find them and stay with them. When they hurt,
God hurt with them. When they rejoiced, God rejoiced with them. When
they cried, God cried with them. In all the ways they fell short of
God's mark, God did not remember how far short of His mark they had
fallen because He forgave them.
Everyone who came to God's church knew He loved them even when they
tried not to know or pretended not to know. They all knew He cared about
them. They all knew He supported them. They all knew that God knew their
name and He knew about their life. They all knew He called them His own.
They all knew He wanted them to grow and get better every day. They all
knew God wanted them to turn away from their sin. Many of the people who
came to God's church learned He loved them with no conditions attached
for they learned God loved them for who they could become. As the years
of their lives rolled by, because God loved them so much, they began to
love Him back for loving them first. And they changed. And they were
healed. And they were restored. And they were renewed. And they accepted
Him. And when He died on the cross for them they were devastated beyond
words to say. And they grieved incredibly for three days. But on the
third day, they heard His voice again. And they wept with joy. And when
they died, they sailed home in an instant and were embraced by Him and
lived in His home for eternity.
1 Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not
envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not
self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always
protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never
This article appeared in February 2003 on Shepherd's Care Ministries
web site at http://www.findthepower.com