You know, I tell folks all the time that the kind of love Jesus (and the Bible) speaks about is not a “Feeling” or some “Thing.” Love is ACTION. In fact, love is the expression of our faith in action for others. Love is a verb, Jesus never meant it to be like sitting around hugging your stuffed animal, or feeling “Warm” when you think about your sweetheart. That wasn’t what he was talking about at all. Love means rolling up your sleeves, and doing some thing for somebody, those you care about especially, but also for those who have great needs that must be met. Food for the hungry, shelter for the homeless, a jacket or a blanket for those who may need to sleep on the streets.
My best friend from High School Joe has come to mind a lot recently. It’s partly because I see him all over town. He’s been homeless on the streets of Manhattan Beach for like 37 years. Since I went away to College, he was a year behind me, and he overdosed on acid one night when he went to Disneyland with a friend of ours. He hasn’t been right since, and yet he still knows me as if it were yesterday. It’s uncanny. God doesn’t love him any less than me, that I know, and yet, what can I do for him? Well, I tell everyone about him, because it’s important that they not judge by appearances.
Joe’s brother was a Captain in the LIfeguards, and recently retired after like 30 years of service. His sister, one of his older sisters, was an all-pro Beach Volleyball player. Joe himself was a twice National Champion Water Polo player (2 National Titles, I was on one of those teams as well). He’s big, fuzzy, and harmless. He shuffles around town, everybody who knows him, feeds him and makes sure he’s comfortable. People will even take him to their house, feed him, but he always wants to go “Home” to his lean to on the beach afterwards. He’s just grown more comfortable there, by himself. I honestly don’t know if there’s anything else I can do for him, but pray for him.
Of course, that’s a tremendous thing to be sure. I just don’t know if he’d ever “Get it” or whether his brain is too fried to comprehend a loving God who doesn’t want him to wind up in Hell. Who knows, maybe Joe is already saved? Perhaps his simplistic outlook on life is what gives him peace to live his simple life. Maybe he just doesn’t want anything more is all. Maybe he’s just happy with what he has?
Still, I wrestle with it. I don’t want to be the type of Christian to him who comes up and promises him that his life will change with Jesus, when he’s perfectly happy with the life he has. Does that make sense? But, yet I realize, it’s not really about this life that we care. I don’t want to see him left out of Heaven because nobody ever made a proper gospel presentation to him (which I’m perfectly trained and able to do now).
Maybe I can be bold with him. Some day soon I hope. I really do want my friend to get to go to Heaven, if it’s the Lord’s will for his life.