Glovers’ love

Tress and I were at a dinner last night. It was a year-end break-up thing for the home group we’ve been attending for the past 3 years. Well 2+ years for me effectively, as I was in Ngambri for the larger part of last year.
The dinner was at the Glovers’ home. The Glovers are, to me at least, an unconventional family. They’ve spent some time in Nepal as missionaries but they’ve been in secular employment for a while. Mark is an engineer and Jenika is a nurse. They have 4 kids. Last night’s dinner was cooked mainly by a guy Josh, the only son of the Glovers, had invited to live with them. That guy is J, a Nepali asylum seeker who would otherwise be in detention. He now lives with the Glovers and has been cooking their evening meals several times a week, for more than 2 months now.
The curries were delicious (including a mushroom curry – a first for me) and J clearly enjoyed what he did, which he did very well.
As I thought about the home group this past year, I realised how some of my views have been tempered. Most of the people in this group have very “progressive” views of the world, with many discussions decrying the conservatives’ views about government funding, immigration and other traditionally hot topics dividing the left from the right. Well maybe not temper my views but certainly how I could or should communicate, defend or speak about them.
Perhaps more importantly however, is how we deal with others such as J. I believe in this regard many – perhaps most, in a church like St Alf’s – would do the same as the Glovers.
What I witnessed amongst the Glovers however, is that form of life themed around ushering heaven on earth in a manner taught us by Jesus himself through a model prayer. Mark and Jenika may have inherited it from their parents – Mark himself, if not also Jenika, is I understand, an “MK” (missionary kid) – but they certainly lived the mantra and perpetuated it.
I saw in Josh their son, that natural instinct to identify a need and attend to it, in an almost unquestioning manner, as a natural response. The compassion and love is clearly abundant and fully acted out in a manner that will surely leave an indelible mark on the beneficiary. If that is the legacy Mark and Jenika leave for their children, it would be such a rich inheritance for them.
Sometimes – often – I focus too much on the principle of personal responsibility. I let that crowd out any room for compassion and love for a person who on the surface appears to have no reason to reach deep to access resources I often believe are there to help one face most challenges in life. Otherwise I tend to think there ought to be persistent through hardship, before one seeks to impose on others what some might term personal rights. Interactions with the Glovers and witnessing their engagements with their “neighbours” have helped me refocus – perhaps less on personal responsibility and simply on the person. That’s love – that’s what the Glovers do in obedience to our Lord. I need more of that. It’s a work in progress.