Accepting the challenge: 3 acts of intentional love
1 Peter 2:9, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
In my sermon on Sunday, I preached about how we serve a peculiar God who desires to transform us into a peculiar people. But instead of just leaving you with this interesting truth, I decided to challenge you to actually live as peculiar people this week.
The challenge was taken from James Bryan Smith’s book “The Good & Beautiful Community” and had two-parts:
1. Spend one hour with our peculiar God—the God who has revealed himself in Jesus. This could be through prayer, Bible study, Godly conversations with friends, or any other way you saw fit.
2. Do 3 acts of “peculiarity” / intentional love. These could be large (like telling a friend about Jesus) or small (like actually engaging the people around you).
Before I left the church on Sunday, I was already hearing about people intentionally loving one another. One person went to go buy a BBQ plate for a friend to show some love. However, when he got ready to pay, he found out that someone else had already paid because they had wanted to buy him a meal!
Later, I heard from someone in the congregation who was at Home Depot and decided to help an older man load some bags of rocks into his truck. After receiving help, the older man exclaimed, “You helped and you didn’t even know me! Thanks so much!”
As the week progressed, I took up my own challenge.
I spent an hour with God in two 30 minute parts where I listened to instrumental music and prayed for myself, the church, and others. One of these times was in the evening and another was in the morning.
My first act was to give a large tip ($20.00) to the restaurant I eat at regularly—the Mexican restaurant in the Chevron near the church. They don’t exactly have servers who earn tips there, so the owner was exceedingly grateful for my contribution and it opened up a nice conversation between us.
My second act was to not look at my phone while on a date night with my girlfriend. One could make the argument that I’m addicted to my iPhone and all of its notifications, so this was me trying to intentionally be present with her. At the end of the night I told her about my act of intentional love. Although she didn’t notice I wasn’t using my phone throughout the night, she did appreciate it.
My third act was to take a phone call from an old friend who called me just when I was winding down for the night. I was tempted to silence my phone, play phone tag for a few weeks, and talk later. Instead, I answered and we talked for about 30 minutes. The conversation was very encouraging for me and I’m glad I decided to put that relationship above some other random activity I would have filled my time with.
These acts were small. But they were a starting point as I seek to continue to live as a peculiar disciple in the world.
Have you started living as a peculiar person?
Did you take up the challenge?
If so, comment below!