Written by: Brandon Winter
What is the one thought that every person has as their life comes to a close? “Did I love?” “Did I love enough?” “Did the people around me know that I loved them?” “Was I loved?”
It’s not “How much money did I make?”, “How many trips did I take?”, or “I should have worked harder.”
I know that life can get busy as well as messy with school, jobs, bills and all of the worries of the world, but in the end, life is all about love.
There is a movement that is burning bright in Africa called Stop for the One, led by Heidi and Rolland Baker. They chose to answer the question long before they would ever face death.
The Bakers moved to Mozambique, Africa, one of the world’s poorest countries, with hardly any money in their pockets, so that they could love the broken, the abandoned and the lost.
Today, they feed, house and equip thousands of children, widows and others. They are drilling wells for villages to have access to water, building schools for education, and offering hope for so many that never dreamed of having any. What an amazing light for the world to look to that they have lit, simply because they chose to love.
Heidi and Rolland Baker are not asking for donations to their cause, although you can donate. They are asking that every person just “stop for the one,” whether that is at the gas station, the grocery store or the mall. Wherever you go, just stop for one person and choose to love them.
“Love looks like something,” Heidi says. Love is choosing another above yourself.
The thing about love is that you cannot give away what you do not have. A person can only love once they have been loved. I first heard of Heidi and Rolland Baker at the same place where I was first filled with love to the point of overflow: at Akron’s Bethel Church, the house of love.
Just like the Bakers have lit a flame, Bethel is burning bright in our own city, loving every person they come across.
What if we chose to love every person right where they are? What if we lost our judgments and looked past the dirt in each other’s lives? Because life throws junk at us, and many people hold on to the hurts and pains and mistake them for parts of who they are. Love sees past the pain that people hold on to and actually burns it up.
Why do we hold on to pain and disappointment? As people, we were designed with a need for justice. We have an actual need for closure. When we are betrayed, let down, wronged or hurt, we desire payment and justice, because crimes are supposed to be punished.
Ever watch the beginning of a movie and see the bad guy do something terrible and feel the urge to sit down and watch the movie to the end, just to make sure he gets what he deserves? We need justice.
But what if justice had already come, and the wrongs and shortcomings of every person had been punished? It has, and it came as the visible image of Love.
Now we can let go of the hurt and pain we are holding against each other. And now our true selves, who we were born to be, can shine through, and we can step into our destinies with purpose.
See, love does not seek its own. And love always chooses the best. So wherever you are, stop for the one, and love as you have been loved. Look past the dirt, grab ahold of their destiny, and love
them back into their identity. Burn with passion for another.
The movement has begun. Love is beginning to spread across our city and our campus. Will you stop for the one, as one stops for you? Will you answer the call?