Late last summer, my husband and I sat on our patio as we participated in a Zoom ministry meeting. During a time of prayer, my gaze wandered to the flower pots at the edge of the patio. I watched as two bees happily buzzed between my red hibiscus and another pot full of cheery sunflowers. In my head I heard the words “Be a pollinator.” I quietly chuckled as I played with the words in my head. Bee, a pollinator.
Moments later our prayer focused on imparting God’s love to others, and I gasped as I said the words out loud. Be a pollinator! That was the answer. My attention swung again to my happy little bees, who were soon joined by a yellow butterfly and shiny green hummingbird. I watched each of these pollinators do what they were created to do as they engaged with the flowers in a beautiful dance.
It is a simple yet profound picture. Pollinators are attracted to the sweet nectar of the flower. As they draw close to drink, they pick up pollen on their bodies, which they will carry to other flowers enabling fertilization. This pollination process is what allows the plants to flourish and reproduce.
It’s like that for us too! When our hearts know the sweet love of God, we are drawn to him. As we stop to drink deeply, he imparts his very substance to us. It is through this intimate process that we become carriers of love, radiating God’s essence to those we encounter while helping them to grow and flourish.
Pondering this, I began to see how easy it it. It’s nothing like all those evangelism steps and strategies that so many of us have been urged by a well-meaning church to memorize and practice. It’s so much easier! We rest in his presence and drink of his love and then carry what he imparts into a broken world that needs his love.
Upon encountering this love, many are drawn to the Source, where they receive from God’s substance to become pollinators as well — effortlessly sharing love wherever they go. There’s nothing forced about this process. It’s completely organic and truly transformational.
But not all pollinators look alike. Some have fuzz, others have feathers. Some have large wings, others have small. Some are multi-colored, others are mono-chromatic. And so it is in the Body of Christ. There should be no such thing as a cookie-cutter Christian. Each of us is a unique creation with our own gifts and talents —as well as our own journey. The Body of Christ must display the beautiful diversity of God’s creation while also revealing the love and unity that can only be found in him — just as the bee, the butterfly, and the hummingbird each exhibit their own unique beauty, but share a common purpose.
True evangelism isn’t about forcing someone to accept your beliefs. Neither is it about making a compelling logical argument. (Although there are times when someone’s intellectual questions must be thoughtfully addressed.) True evangelism comes from a heart that has been filled by love overflowing with the same.
We love because he first loved us.
— 1 John 4:19
Every human being needs to know they are loved. Even Jesus received loving affirmation at his baptism as his Father’s voice resounded, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” These are the words the human heart longs to hear. This is my son…This is my daughter…whom I love. Such words are imbued with the power to heal and transform.
The necessity of love to the human heart is absolute. It does not vary by gender, race, culture background, socioeconomic status, or intellectual capacity. All humans are created in God’s image and worthy of love. Without love, no human can flourish.
As Christians we often look to The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) as our statement of purpose. It is here that we are given our marching orders: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
But sadly, many Christians rush out to do these things without ever drawing near to the source of love. We so often go out into a broken world lacking the one thing that can bring healing. We teach religion, thinking this is what Jesus commands. But what is Jesus actually saying when he commands us to make disciples and teach them to obey what he has commanded?
Jesus summed it up for us in Matthew 22:37-40: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
We must carry the love we have received from God into the world and let it rub off. This is how we teach others to obey Jesus’ commands. We must be pollinators who spread the substance of God and promote the flourishing of others. This is the only way to truly be a disciple. It is the way of love.
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