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11 May, 2014

The Only One(s)

We took time to get away from our usual routine. We had much to think about, pray over, plan and discern. We needed to listen, to think and to share together without much interruption. We needed rest and quiet. We headed into Sabbath.

We drove to the forest. The place we stayed was nicely tucked into the “thick of the forest edge.” Our cabin was surrounded by tall trees and their plentiful undergrowth. The cool, fragrant air soothed our souls and spirits. The absence of city noise refreshed our hearts and minds.

We noticed there weren't too many people close by. We enjoyed the peaceful scene while sitting on our cabin porch. We commented we were grateful no other cabins in the vicinity were inhabited by noisy tourists. What a relief.

We went to supper after an afternoon nap and great conversation. We continued our pleasant speaking throughout the meal. The staff members were friendly, attentive, courteous and prompt. The food tasted so nice. It wasn't until we were about to leave the table that we realized we were the only people in the dining area. But, since Americans tend to eat the evening meal much earlier than our African friends we didn't think too much about it. However, out of curiosity we did ask the waiter as we were leaving, “Are you expecting many other clients for dinner later?”

His reply struck us on several chords. “Not really. You are the only clients tonight. We are all here to serve only you.”

The only ones? Oh.

We pondered on that for quite some time. God surely knew we needed tranquility and peace. But really, the only ones? What does God intend? We are the only ones. What is God teaching in this? Verbal exploration of this served as our next day’s breakfast table conversation.

We recently celebrated Easter. Jesus did what He did to save every one of us. He would have done it if I had been the only one. If we were the only ones ever, Jesus still would have endured the cross to redeem us.

God loves us as if we are the only one(s). He always has time for us, is always with us and is always at work for our good. His ever-present love treats us as if we are the only ones.

We are called to be as Jesus, to be His body. Called to love each other as if we are the only ones. Called to be as Jesus, always having time for others, always fully present in each interaction and always at work for the good of others, as if each one is the only one.

Am I willing to “say” this to the lonely woman standing on the corner, or to the dirty child running past me or to the mother crying at the bedside? “You are the only one(s). I am here to serve only you. You are of value. I love you, even as Jesus loves me, so you are loved.”

Somehow I feel a little uncomfortable. Is it because I am one of the only ones? Or is it because I am told to go and do likewise? It is costly, to love as I am loved, but what if, for them I am the only one?