Thankful for Love

If I had to choose one word to describe what I’m most thankful for this year, I would choose "love". Love is the greatest thing in the world isn’t it? I think every person would say this is true, whether you are a Christian or not – love is what we need.

In 1967, the BBC asked The Beatles, perhaps the most well known musical group of all time, to compose a song with a message that everyone would understand for an upcoming live broadcast.

So they wrote and performed a song for the very first international live broadcast and viewed by over 400 million people in 25 countries around the world. The song was “All You Need is Love.” When asked about the song, its writer John Lennon said, “the nicest thing about this song is that it cannot be misinterpreted. It’s a clear message saying that love is everything.”

This is the message that God sends to us by his Holy Spirit. Romans 5:5 says the love of God is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom we have been given. This is the amazing truth: we know about God’s love for us because he sent his Son to die in our place and through the Holy Spirit we experience God’s love, we can feel it.

I’ll never forget a night when I experienced this pouring out of love in a powerful way. It was a Sunday night and I was driving some men from Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission back across the 520 bridge to the Men’s Shelter. These men were a part of an Alpha course that our church in Bellevue was hosting.

When men from the mission first started attending our Alpha course I wasn’t sure how I felt. How would men who had been homeless and now recovering from addiction fit in with the people from this affluent city? The answer was that they fit in just fine. They brought a refreshing transparency to our church and brought new energy to our conversations. Over time my concerns and fears changed into delight as I heard the stories and got to know these men.

That night on our trip home, the men were sharing what they had learned that evening in the course. Just as our church van started crossing the bridge I felt as though God was pouring His love straight into my heart. I remember thinking, “I can’t get enough of these guys.” They were so loveable. I also remember God whispering to me, “keep your heart open because I have plans for you.” I had no idea that night as I crossed over the bridge that I was crossing a bridge to a new ministry. About a year later I came on staff at The Mission.

Sometimes God sends us a message with a life changing jolt of love. He doesn’t hold back, He just pours and pours. This Thanksgiving I’m thankful that I can say that I have experienced the love of God. He gives me the love I need for the work He has given me to do.

Ralph Rowland

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