A friend of mine pastors a church in a small mountain community not far from Boise, Idaho. The community is nestled in a wooded valley through which a pleasant little stream meanders. Behind the church and alongside the stream is a grove of willows, a length of grass, and a sandy beach. It’s an idyllic spot that has long been a place where members of the community gather to picnic.
One day, a man in the congregation expressed concern over the legal implications of “outsiders” using the property. “If someone is injured,” he said, “the church might be sued.” Though the elders were reluctant to take any action, the man convinced them that they should post a sign on the site informing visitors that this was private property. So the pastor posted a sign. It read: “Warning! Anyone using this beach may, at any moment, be surrounded by people who love you.” I read his sign the week after he put it up and was charmed. “Exactly,” I thought. “Once again grace has triumphed over law!”
This love for one’s neighbor springs from God’s kindness, forbearance, and patience with us. It’s not the law, but the goodness of God that draws men and women to repentance (Rom. 2:4) and to saving faith in His Son Jesus Christ.
As You have loved me, let me love
Lost souls in darkness dwelling;
To draw the needy ones to You,
Lord, give a zeal compelling! —Bosch
Love is the magnet that draws believers together
and attracts unbelievers to Christ.