Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way. – Don Miller, Blue Like Jazz
I was reminded of this quote this morning as I watched a rerun of the Crocodile Hunter. I was reminded why the show, and Steve Irwin in particular, was so popular to watch. He made the show so compelling to watch because of his love for the animals. No doubt he had a boisterous Australian accent and demeanor which helped win him over, but I think what made his program so popular was just his honest to goodness love and respect for the animals he worked with. He showed how fun it can be to get close to them, to rescue them, and the satisfaction of bringing one back to it’s native habitat. He conveyed admiration and respect for what he worked with. It wasn’t just that he jumped into alligator pits or played ‘Russian roulette’ with poisonous snakes. He had a genuine love for animals and nature which was contagious.
I wonder if our relationship with God and Jesus is like this. Do we love Jesus in such a way that it’s contagious? Do we really love God in a way that others notice- not just notice but are drawn in to do the same? People sometimes need a reason to love something. They need a reason why. When others see us loving and savoring Jesus it prompts them to do the same.
People all too often just go through the motions and end up looking very normal. What makes a follower of Jesus so different is our love for God and our love for other people. In John 13:34-35 Jesus says “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” What a beautiful command Jesus has for us. And it comes with a promise. If we love other people like Jesus asks us to the world will take notice- they will know that we are followers of Him.
Love is our most distinguishing feature. Let’s not be afraid to love God like this. Love out loud!