This week we're gonna draw some circles.
A small circle: write the names of YOUR people. I believe the buzz word we're looking for here is your "tribe." These are the people you'd take a bullet for. But also probably the people you get most snappy with and the same people you let down your guard with do silly things you'd never let anyone else see. For most of us, this is our immediate family but for some of us this is a roommate or friend group--regardless of your legal or biological connection these people are the ones you call family.
A medium circle around your small circle: These are your friends. They may not be quite as tight as family but they are the people you enjoy spending time with.
Bigger circle: coworkers, classmates and other people you are around on a daily or weekly basis in close proximity--but not necessarily by choice.
Biggerer (Yup, you read it here) circle: the masses. Your neighbors, fellow church members, or fellow employees, but not people that you have a personal touch with regularly.
Outter circle: orphans, widows, individuals with special needs, the homeless, the poor, the sick, the marginalized.
Now take some time, think and pray and stare at the funnel of circles on your page. Color in the circles with a dark color for the people groups "know you by your love." Seriously consider, if a stranger were to ask each of these groups "Is So&So a follower of Jesus Christ? Have you experienced love from So&So?" What groups could give a definitive answer?
Which groups might know you by your love? You are pretty sure that you've been a good friend or neighbor and think they might know that your life is driven by your love for God and love for others? Color these circle groups red.
What groups don't even know you? What groups have you neglected completely? Color these circle groups in with a neon highlighter.
Start praying for the people your neon highlighted circles represent. Make them a priority in your prayer life and faithfully commit to follow wherever God leads you to love those who are difficult for you to love. Are you called to be a prayer warrior on behalf of the marginalized? Do you need to give up some of your time to show love to a person in your periphery?
Step up with the relationships represented in the red circles. Pray that God would convict you of any hindrance that is causing you to be less than all in with these people. Risk awkwardness, throw off chains of people pleasing and be free to love. What does that look like in each of these relationships? Could it be that you need to invite a coworker to eat lunch with you in the break room? Is there a neighbor that you have thought about inviting over, but have let busy schedules keep you distracted? Is there Truth that you know it's time to share? What action do you need to take?
Look at the circles that are filled in with dark colors, pray that God would produce fruit from these relationships. Pray against complacency, pray for deep community, and pray for salvation. Thank God for bringing these people into your life.