Really. I kept those crazy kids in the category where love is that required feeling of vague goodwill toward all others who call themselves Christians. They were silly - are silly. And we don't. do. silly.
They ran and joked and laughed too loudly. And they still do.
They played pranks and made faces and messes. And they still do.
They were easily distracted, had to be told more than once, and asked questions to which the answer seemed obvious to me. And they still do.
They haven't really changed, but I have. I see them with new eyes after two years away. Yes, they've grown a little, and grown up a little more, but it's this heart that has learned to kneel, to stoop, and see the ingredients for growth in every life.
I've observed the young and silly faces and messes begin Freshman year with lofty plans and lack of discipline, and end Sophomore year with dreams just as big, but with the grown ability to wisely pursue them.
These crazy kids are just a few years behind that crazy finals week that turns a college lower classman into an upper classman. They're just a few years behind me.
By God's grace the ingredients for growth in my life and the lives of many of my fellow classmates, has begun to come together. The seed has sprouted. So I jumped at the chance to be water and sun to these younger ingredients. And again, only God's grace will bring them to sprout, and, we pray, bring us all to fruit-bearing maturity.
In three weeks we'll head out. Out the flat, dry lands of the southeast U.S. Out to the greatest poverty known within the borders of this great nation turning 237 on Thursday. Out to the third world imbedded in the first world. And we'll seek to serve and teach and love and give, but we'll be served more than we can serve, and learn more than we can teach, and be loved more than we can love, and receive more than we can give.
For a week. And it's alright. The seeds will be watered. The sun - the Son - will be shining.
The eyes of the blind must be opened before they can lead others. The stiff hands of the selfish must be softened with generosity before they can give. The feet of the anxious must be shod with the gospel of peace before they can teach. The heart must know God is love before it can love. And I need all this too. My sprout is still small, growing to seedling.
All they have is ingredient of growth for the greater. I don't want them to lose it. I just want it to be combined with His Word and His grace and His truth and His Person.
So all the silliness and crazy enthusiastic energy can be channeled into teachable spirits and servants hearts and reckless abandon and undeniable hope and unlimited expectancy.
I never thought I would love them like this - with this love that has become all nurturing action and insane hope for their ingredients to grow. I'm still growing into this love, but I can't wait for a week of practice.