Jesus says, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love one another. This is how everyone will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).
Have you ever heard of Mark Hillaby? Probably not. But maybe you have BEEN HIM. Let me explain.
In 1996 at the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament (Sampras against Krajicek), it started raining. Hard. 19 people rushed out with the tarp. One was Mark Hillaby. When they finished covering the court, 18 people rushed off the court. Mark Hillaby was NOT among them. He had slipped on the wet grass, hitting his head on the tarp’s frame. He fell unconscious, covered up by the tarp. No one noticed the man-sized lump. He was only discovered when the rains stopped and the tarp was taken up. 20,000 people had been watching. Mark Hillaby was helped by medics, examined at the hospital and released.
Sometimes we are knocked out in life, whacked by circumstances. “Can’t they see me?” we may wonder. “Don’t they know what I’m going through?”
One way that we love one another is by noticing the empty pew, or reading the name on the hospital report. Paying attention to one another—including who is NOT there. The next time you see a suspicious lump—the name on a prayer list, or someone you haven’t seen in church in a while—get in touch. It may be another Mark Hillaby. It may be an important opportunity for you to be instrumental in fulfilling Jesus’ new commandment.