by Emily Kemmann (SFFC Charlotte Chapter Director and Host Family)
What does “love your neighbor” mean? I keep contemplating this, because I am a selfish person. There are some ways that it’s just easy for me to give– even ways that might seem like a big deal to other people. But inside I know that I like to love and give how I like to love and give. There are areas of my life that I don’t want interrupted, especially when I have expectations or plans.
This work week was unusually long and exhausting, and I was ready for my Saturday– sleeping in, relaxation-only, lots of quiet. And then a sweet mama whose toddler was hospitalized was desperately in need of an ASAP Safe Families hosting for her three other children so she could learn difficult medical care procedures to bring her child home from the hospital. I was getting frustrated that we were having a hard time finding host families to meet the need.
Then, God nudged my heart: “Why not you, Emily? This is what the Disruptive Generosity you talk about does- it disrupts. It demands that you take up your cross and follow Me.”
And I felt annoyed, because I want taking up my cross not to include the carefree Saturday that I had planned with my husband, Lars. I wanted to give when I felt like giving.
Tonight, though, as I sat holding Lars’ hand as he prayed over this little guy who had finally fallen asleep after a tough evening of missing his mom, I was deeply grateful for a man who models sacrificial love. A man who agreed to this hosting and went to pick up a little boy with only 2 hours’ notice because a family in our city needs to stay intact. Who didn’t utter one word of complaint after his own 60-hr work week about spending the weekend with a super-energetic 5-year-old whose little heart was hurting and needing to process difficult things he’d been through. I want to be like my husband. I want to be like Jesus.
These are really hard, exhausting, uncertain times we’re all navigating. But this is my prayer tonight: Lord Jesus– don’t let your Church draw into ourselves right now. Don’t let us be absorbed in arguments about values, or fear of the unknown, or anxiety about tomorrow, or conspiracies and intrigues, or a million different distractions that won’t let us SEE our neighbors who are bleeding to know Christ-love. That won’t let us go beyond just seeing to choosing to act. That won’t let us hear Your call and respond in obedience.
I confess that I desire convenient love. I’m asking God to weed that out of me by the roots. I want a God-love that acts. I want a God-love that accepts inconveniences from the hand of my Savior as an opportunity to understand a little more who Jesus is.
Teach me to love my neighbor.