15 Feb The Kingdom on a Dashboard
In Matthew 10:6, as Jesus sends out his twelve disciples, he tells them, “As you go, proclaim the message, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.”
When I decided to become a part of the CCC staff during college, I thought of it as something that would make me look really good. We can have a sneaky way of letting our works define our worth. But what’s crazy about the Gospel is that Christ calls us to be fishers of men, not because we are really good at fishing, but because there is a Savior who is worth following and who is the ultimate catch for our souls. Going into my first summer on staff, I had no idea how much I would still need to receive from Christ in order to freely give in the way He calls us to.
CCC works with the same people that Jesus worked with during his ministry on earth: the marginalized, the fatherless, the forsaken by the world’s standards. And because of this, at CCC, you get to experience the Love that exists in His Kingdom in ways that the world does not offer. Let me tell you about my friend, who I will call Michael (not his real name). He is a friend I made in Asheville during my time on the HOME staff. He is quite honestly one of the most intimidating people I’ve ever met, really quiet and covered in tattoos. But when you get to know Michael, you realize he is not scary whatsoever, has the goofiest sense of humor, and will say or do anything he can to put a smile on your face. That summer, Michael showed me how if I truly wanted to experience the nearness of the Kingdom of God, I was still very much in need of humbly receiving His immeasurable love for me.
We were coming back from one of our weekly hikes, and Michael was riding in my car. We stopped with our campers to get ice cream, and Michael asked if he could have my keys to get something from my car. I was hesitant, because I don’t typically lend out my car keys, but I did so and Michael came right back with no issue.
When we all piled in the car to head back to camp, sitting on my dashboard was a pile of beautiful yellow and orange daffodils that Michael picked from a bush nearby just to love on me. So simple, but it was one of the kindest, most selfless acts of love anyone has ever lavished upon me. I did nothing to earn it, and he received nothing for himself by doing it.
Our American culture has a weird way of twisting what love is. We live in a society where we are constantly trying to one-up, break even, or get ahead. It has become extremely difficult to lay down our lives and just love someone who needs it, in a way that is completely pure from any hint of selfish motivation. I myself, will often do things that I label as love, but my intentions get entangled with the desires of making myself feel better or look better to others. That summer, Michael just loved me. He got nothing out of it for himself, but instead was motivated by the love of Christ—the reality that a Perfect God entered this messy world for the sake of his soul—and was then free to truly give.
I pray we all learn to receive God’s love for a lifetime, and that, as a ministry, that Love would be the sole source of what calls us to action.