Loving God and Loving People

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Matthew 22:37, 39

The God of love gave to Frank Laubach (1884-1970) a large capacity to both love God and love people. A former editor of The Wesleyan Advocate once heard Frank tell his story.

“Frank Laubach was a Methodist missionary in Mindanao, Philippines and was trying his best to serve Christ and the Methodist Church. One day, he realized that he could not minister to the people because he did not love them. During a spiritual retreat, Frank knew that he must receive love for these people, or he might as well leave.

“One night after evening vespers Frank retreated to a spot on the mountain alone. He agonizingly confessed to God that his ministry was a failure, that he simply did not love the people. And the Spirit led him to pray, ‘Lord, I will not leave this mountain until You give me love for these people.’ The hours passed. He was desperate enough to pray earnestly and hopeful enough to pray on. Perhaps at three or four o’clock in the morning, God’s love for men was ‘shed abroad in his heart.’

“For a few minutes, Frank lingered to enjoy the inrush of love; then he was constrained to leave the mountain, to travel the paths where men walked, and tell them he loved them. He met some Catholic friars, and he paused to tell them he loved them. Then he met some Buddhist monks. He found himself warmly greeting them as friends, and they surprised him by returning courtesies of love. He told the farmers, the women, the children—he told everyone he loved them. From that day, God opened their hearts to the gospel of God’s love as Frank preached it. They believed that God loved because they knew that Frank Laubach loved.”*

Everywhere the Son of Man walked, he demonstrated a genuine agape love for people, because he was filled with the very love of his Father in Heaven. Jesus loved people because he loved God.

God’s love must be renewed in us regularly, lest we live diminished lives. Could it be we are in need of a baptism of love, as Frank Laubach experienced, and as did the disciples of old?

* I no longer have the original source data for this quote

Taken from . . .
Renewed by the Spirit: 365 Daily Meditations
by Ralph I. Tilley
copyright © 2016 Ralph I. Tilley
(May be copied for noncommercial purposes,
not to exceed 500 copies.)


Author: Ralph I. Tilley

I joyfully identify with the long history of the orthodox, evangelical stream of the Church. Theologically, I am a conservative. On issues of secondary importance, I will not quibble with my brothers and sisters in Christ. We are called to “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” I would hope I have no doctrinal biases; however, I realize that is a practical impossibility: “Now I know in part.” You can read more on the About page.