The Love of Christ Compels us

a multi-ethnic team has gathered in a circle and put their hands in as they prepare to let out a motivational cheer.

It had been a full, busy week. We all had plans for Saturday. Mike needed to finish the sermon about which he’d been pondering and praying all week. William had a lot of loose ends to tie up in the finance office before leaving town for several days. Emily was planning to spend time with a friend. I was looking forward to getting caught up on email after I returned home from snorkeling with Jacque and Alta. And Jacque? She was probably going to bake a batch of her husband’s favorite chocolate chip cookies after I dropped her off.

That’s the kind of day we were planning.

A phone call changed it all. 

It came from one of our close co-workers, a Papua New Guinean Bible translator who lives in a remote jungle village. His family had been the victim of a vicious crime. They had already traveled to the nearest available place to seek medical care and report the crime. 

It appeared that they needed someone here in Madang to visit the provincial police offices in our town to help start the process of getting the perpetrator arrested. So Mike set aside his sermon preparation and headed to the police station in hopes of getting our dear brother and his family the assistance that was needed.

Without a lifestyle of love, the Word we translate will have no impact.

It soon became evident that the injuries required care at the hospital in Madang. William offered to go get the family. Emily offered her truck for the long drive over the sometimes-not-so-good road. She also offered her time to go along and add a woman’s touch to the care the family so desperately needed.

My snorkeling companions and I cut short our outing. On the way home we put our heads together to make sure the most important bases were covered for the family’s care when they arrived in town. By the time we got home, plans A, B, C, and D had taken shape in our heads and hearts. 

After we parted company, Jacque, a nurse, went off in search of medicine we knew would be needed. Mike and I gathered a few food items, then joined the family at the hospital, intending to wait with them until they were admitted. Meanwhile Jacque rounded up items they would need for their first night at the hospital. She and her husband Bob delivered these items, along with a pot of freshly cooked rice.

By now it was nearly 9:00. It had already been a very long day for the family, and it was increasingly clear that no doctor would be available to see them until Sunday. We weren’t even sure how soon the admitting nurse would be free to see them because she was overwhelmed with taking care of a large group of patients who had arrived ahead of them. Weary and wounded, our friends gratefully accepted Bob and Jacque’s invitation to spend the night in their home.

We’re a team … and we’re the body of Christ. 

This is how teams work. And this is how the body is meant to function. Sure, William ended up leaving behind some of those loose ends. Emily missed much of the time she’d planned to spend with her friend. Mike’s sermon wasn’t as polished as he had hoped. I didn’t get any of those emails written. And Bob had to wait for his chocolate chip cookies.

But we’re here to show the love of Christ. Without a lifestyle of love, the Word we translate will have no impact. The love of Christ compels us … to be here … to set aside our own plans … to serve.

Eunice Herchenroeder
Eunice served in Papua New Guinea as wife, mom, missionary care facilitator, and in many other roles. She now leads a team of writers and editors at Pioneer Bible Translators’ International Service Center in Texas. She and her husband Mike have three adult children.
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