A Will Rogers quote sparks a deeper look at the love of Jesus.
After moving to Oklahoma this past summer, I’ve been trying to learn all I can about the people and places in my new home state. I’m realizing that I have a lot to learn about Oklahoma! For example, do you know who’s known as “Oklahoma’s favorite son”? Will Rogers. Have you heard of him? He was a cowboy, actor, performer, newspaper columnist, and all sorts of other things in the early 1900s. He left behind lots of memorable quotes, including this one: “I’ve never met a man I didn’t like.”
Jesus’ love for all
Those words have been on my mind ever since I first read them: “I’ve never met a man I didn’t like.” Know why? Because I’ve met a lot of people I don’t like. How about you? I bet you’ve met a lot of people you don’t like either. How often do you find yourself in conversations that you can’t wait to end? Which people do you hope won’t call or e-mail or text you today? When that certain person struggles or fails, why does it make you feel so happy inside? Sadly, I’ve met a lot of people I don’t like. Will Rogers’ words convict me of the sin in my heart.
Because I’m not like Jesus. Remember the time when Jesus and his disciples went in a boat to a quiet place to get some rest? They crossed the lake, and what did they find? No peace and quiet. A crowd of people—tired, dirty, sweaty, hungry people. I would have groaned. Rolled my eyes. Got back in the boat.
But not Jesus. How did Jesus react? Instead of seeing those people as a nuisance or an intrusion on his rest, “he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd” (Mark 6:34). Jesus never met a person he didn’t like. Consider that woman at the well (John 4:1-42) or those ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19) or the tax collectors and prostitutes (Luke chapter 15) or that self-righteous rich man (Mark 10:21).
Add one more person to that list: You. Jesus loves you. Even though you complain about your life. Even when you shirk your responsibilities. Even after you’ve disliked or avoided so many of his children. Jesus loves you. He died for you. He has forgiven you. I bet you’re very aware of the people who don’t like you. Jesus isn’t one of them. Jesus never met a person he didn’t love, including you and me!
Our love for others
So, “dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11). As I meet people in my new congregation and home state, I’ve been reminding myself: “Because of Jesus, I’ve never met a person I didn’t like.” Whoever that woman is talking to you, she is not an “it” or a nuisance. She is loved by God and bought with Jesus’ blood. Whatever to-dos are on your mind, they aren’t more important than that man whom God unexpectedly placed in front of you. As inconvenient as it might seem, God wanted you to get that text at that time to give you an opportunity to show his love to a person who needs it.
Every person is precious. You are precious. So is he. And her. They are. Because Jesus never met a person he didn’t love.
Author: Nathan Nass
Volume 108, Number 10
Issue: October 2021