“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” Matthew 23:37 NIV
We hear throughout Scripture in verses like this how God longs not only for specific people, but for entire cities and nations. We hear Him lament how He wishes He could comfort and protect Jerusalem as a collective people. In a world of billions, we sometimes feel like the attribute of having genuine love for the masses is one that our human limitations keep us falling short of. Loving entire peoples, even some you have never seen or may never see, is actually exactly the kind of love being grown in our hearts.
“And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.” 1 John 5:1 NIV
“But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, 'Who is My mother and who are My brothers?' And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, 'Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother'.” Matthew 12:48-50 NIV
We are clearly to love our “family” around the world with the same ardor that we do our God, ourselves, and those we hold most near and dear. What does it mean to love them? This question is better answered by asking another; what do we do for those we love? We nurture them. We pray for them. We long to visit them. We care about their wellbeing and do all in our power to supply their needs. Many times we think in such a way that re-orders our affections to precede our blessings. We bless those we love. We bless those we feel like blessing. We bless those we know or those we have been given a good reason to bless. Jesus gave us the best reason of all. Because in loving ALL people, we are loving HIM.
“For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’”Matthew 25:25-40 NIV
I want to propose a challenge. Expand your love for the nations in a new way this week by expanding your support of the nations. Pick a new nation (or several) to pray for with the same passion you would pray for your own country. Give to a missionary or a ministry that benefits those WHOM YOU DO NOT KNOW. In this way, we give to the nations our treasures...both our financial treasure and the most valuable treasures of our time, emotions, and prayer. As we give these treasure, our hearts will surely go with them.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21 NIV