"By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 14:35
Recently, I witnessed something that truly portrayed the love Jesus talked about. My friend Meera and her husband Raj host a prayer meeting at their house every month. They invite an Indian pastor from out of town to give the sermon, and invite friends who could speak or understand Tamil (my native tongue) so that all could get the opportunity to sing, pray and listen to a sermon in their native tongue and enjoy the home-cooked Indian food Meera has prepared.
When my husband and I went there last month, I noticed that Meera, instead of her casual dress of long skirt and blouse, had dressed up in a lovely blue and gold silk sari and put her long black hair up in a neat bun. Only after the sermon did I learn that it was Meera and Raj's 31st wedding anniversary the next day. To celebrate the evening, the young men and women gathered at the meeting brought a chocolate frosted cake, handed the couple a lovely bouquet of red roses, sang a song dedicated to them and spoke a few words of appreciation.
Even though non-Christians are also invited to the prayer meetings , I've never seen Meera nor Raj enforcing their faith on them or debating with them on faith matters. Meera, herself being a Hindu in the past, knows too well that it's not her words, but her love in action that has the power to draw anyone towards Christ. Even though she holds a high position in her medical profession, she's one of the most humble persons I've known. Her smile and calm composure even under trying condition reflects her strong faith and perspective on life.
As I sat there and watched those 20- to 30-year-old men and women come forward and say how much Meera and Raj had blessed their lives, I wondered how a busy person like Meera who works long hours as a doctor could find the time to spend with these people whenever they needed her help.
A young woman who had a baby an year ago and a surgery a few months later, said that no sooner Meera heard about her pregnancy, she showed up at their door with home cooked food to last for two weeks. Because of Meera, the girl said, she rarely misses her mother in India. A newly married couple who had moved to US recently, nodded their head in agreement to convey how quickly Meera and Raj had won them also by their friendliness.
If any advice or help was needed to purchase a car or an expensive item, Raj was the person they approached. One girl told that once she was talked into buying a not so good car, and when Raj found out about it, he went along with her to the dealer to return the car, get her money back and saw that she drove back home fully satisfied in a better car.
The young man who spoke next said that when his parents were struggling to find work in US and put him and his sister through college, Meera and Raj were there to help them out financially as well as to give the love and support they needed during the time. Recently when he found out that Meera was going through CT scans and other procedure to find out the cause for the pain in her back and head, he had told his mother that if Meera ever needed a kidney or a lung, he wouldn't think twice to give her one of his own. My eyes welled up when I heard the story. I don't think anyone could put a price tag on such love.
According to Christ's view in John 14:35, it is not by the bumper sticker on our cars or the "I Love Jesus" coffee mugs we carry, the words we write or our stand on certain social issues that are going to portray us as true disciples of Him. To the onlookers, they may help to some extent to reveal our identity, but on closer examination nothing could beat the real thing -- the genuine love for others.