A story of loving pursuit.
While working, I met a man whom we will call Mr. Jeff (not his real name). Mr. Jeff is a kind older gentlemen with quick whit and a good sense of humor. He has those wise eyebrows, long and wiry with experience and is always never without a baseball cap.
Now that you have a good description of this very important person, lets move on.
One day he plopped down at my desk and asked me about the significance of my tattoo [3 arrows pointed up above my elbow]. I didn't know if he would rear back in disdain of my inked arm, but I replied with one word, "submission." He countered with an appropriate response, "well, submission to what?" To which I happily stated, "submission to Jesus."
HE TEARED UP and said with deep sincerity, "That is AMAZING - I love my Jesus too!"
I was moved by his radiant joy. I mean really, how often do you meet a person who reacts with such passion to speak of their Jesus? I know I don't meet many people with that kind of sincere joy...I sure wish I did. I was captivated by his response, because his love for Jesus was unlike anything I had encountered before. I would dare to say that I haven't met anyone that treasures Jesus as much as He does.
WHY??? That was the question that was reeling in my head. Why does his love seem so full when most of my fellow christian love (myself included) for Jesus seem so casual?
He later shared his story in entirety as we sat down at my dinner table over too much coffee and cakes - Yummy cakes. My favorite part of his story was this:
"I grew up a Muslim and Jesus picked me long before I chose HIm."
He was born in 1942 in south Iran to a very devout Islamic family. His father was rich with influence and status in his community. His grandfathers were politically involved and merchants to India. Mr. Jeff was the youngest of 8 children - and the spoiled one of course.
In Iran during his childhood things were quite peaceful, at least it started off that way. He spoke kindly of Shah's reign and under his rule, nothing was religiously pressured, like it is now. But, even then, Mr. Jeff didn't have anything to worry about, as his family was well established and most importantly, Muslim. Things began to change when the southern Arabian armies traveled through each town forcing Islam on all. It started out mild with higher taxes on those who practiced anything outside of Islam, and as time went on, consequences grew.
Fast forward to 1960, Mr. Jeff's high school graduation. He was enamored with the idea of the west and felt compelled to conquer it. His family, like I mentioned earlier, was well to do and connected and it would have been so easy to grow into adulthood under those well formed branches of affluence. He decided not to take the path of least resistance, in efforts to make his dream come true. He did so without the support of his family with the exception of his older brother.
He entered the US with $500 and a dream.
Very long story short he ends up in the engineering program at Lamar University right here in Beaumont, TX. Upon the start of the semester there was a potluck dinner arranged for all the international students at Lamar. Everyone was instructed to bring a dish from their native country. Since all the students were most likely here in the US and away from their families, the program arranged for many families to pick a student to host during holidays and school breaks.
Enter the McGregor family of 4: Mom, Dad and 2 daughters. They were one of many families there that evening prepared to host an international student. Together they picked Jeff, a muslim kid from Iran. They had nothing in common really, but decided to live life alongside him and serve him the best way they knew how. Despite their differences they involved him in everyday family life and Mr. Jeff said, "Mr. McGregor treated me like the son he never had and I just became like one of the family." Jeff eventually had a room at their house and was given a job at the family business. They believed in him and spoke life into him for many years.
The father modeled biblical principles in everyday affairs, and he led his family strongly. Mr. McGregor spent time sharing Jesus with Jeff on walks after dinner around the neighborhood. That relationship grew an made a huge impact on him as a young adult. He began attending church with the family and eventually came to know Jesus for himself.
That family simply loved without borders, and that love ultimately led to a Muslim kid finding Jesus, a life eternally changed. Mr. Jeff is now 74 and feels incredibly grateful that God would go to such great lengths to have his heart!
That is why he was filled with such joy! He truly realized how treasured he was by God, the creator of the heavens and the earth. He felt the pursuit of God's love. The one who gave His son Jesus so that we may know Him and be fully restored back to Him.
His story left me forever changed & inspired. Changed because I have a better picture of his grand love and inspired to extend that hand of love and obedience to as many as I can, so that they too can know His great love!
" Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
His love knows NO BOUNDS & He treasures all !