August / September 2017 - Vol. 93
reflections from

Love and Priorities

by Stephen Giles

Stephen Giles YouthWorks-Detroit
                                2017This past year in Detroit has certainly brought about a good bit of spiritual growth in my life, and I think that there has been a definite theme from the Lord this summer that has served to order this growth correctly. During this year I have grown in my prayer life, and in my knowledge of God, I have developed some skills, and have gained wisdom through experiences, but so far this summer I have felt the Lord urge me to prioritize relating with people.

1 Corinthians 13 says that if I have all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and tremendous wisdom and great faith, but do not have love then I have nothing. No matter how much I may have grown this past year it is worthless if it does not produce love. I am so often concerned with programs running smoothly and with plans staying orderly that I forget that the priority is people, and in the case of Detroit Summer Outreach (DSO), the priority is the youth. If the programs run with complete order, but the objective, which in this case is that the youth come to know Jesus, is not accomplished then it was a complete waste.

In the past, and especially during my freshman year of college, I failed to make relating well with people as priority as I should have done. I would put my headphones in on the bus so that people wouldn’t talk to me, I would make little or no effort to make friends with the people in my classes, and I certainly acted cowardly when any opportunity for evangelism arose. I was more concerned with being comfortable than I was with sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with others.

Thankfully, throughout this year and especially this summer the Lord has shown me how vital it is to make people a priority and to invest in relationships. He has shown me that I need to invest in and love these young people, for that is precisely the reason why I am here. 1 John 4 states simply that we are to love, because God loves us and because God is love. When things seem to get complicated or chaotic it is so helpful for me to be reminded that I am here in Detroit simply to love God and love His people.

As convicted as I may get that loving people is of paramount importance I know that I am actually incapable of carrying this out on my own. No matter how much I understand the importance of loving and prioritizing people, if I rely on my own strength and my own love to carry it out, I will fail. I need to rely on the Lord in order to love people as He calls me to, and that is a great relief. My own love is pretty feeble and pathetic, but I can let God love others through me and being apart of that is incredible. God has blessed me with some great relationships with the youth this summer, and I am very thankful for the opportunity to be used by Him in this way.

Source: Used with permission.

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