If you grew up going to church, you have probably listened to “The Music Machine” a time or two. In my case, probably two thousand or more. I still own it on vinyl. And I bought it on CD for my kids a few years back. If you aren’t familiar with it, it is the story of two kids who wake up in “Agapeland” and meet the conductor who shows them this fabulous machine, “put something in it and a song comes out.” After trying a few things like whistles, strings, and a smile, they put in the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. This morning, I have the song “Love” from that album going around in my head. I can’t find a video for you, but the lyrics to that song are:

Love, love, love makes people happy
Love, love, love makes people free
Love makes people do the things they know they ought to do
Love is doing things for you and me

Love love, love, love makes people friendly
Love love, love, love makes people kind
Love makes people do the things they know they ought to do
Love is helping those who fall behind

We need more love
It’s easy to see
We need God’s love
That’s the way it should be

Love, love, love makes people thankful
Love, love, love makes people share
Love makes people do the things they know they ought to do
Love is showing others that you care

We need more love
It’s easy to see
We need God’s love
That’s the way it should be

Love, love, love makes people happy
Love, love, love makes people free
Love makes people do the things they know they ought to do
Love is doing things for you and me
Love makes people do the things they know they ought to do
Love is doing things for you and me

I think the reason I am singing this song today is because I have been reading I John this week and I am pretty sure every other sentence is about love and Christ’s love and what that should look like in our lives. This love is not self-seeking, but self-sacrificing. This love is the indicator of our relationship with Christ.

In addition to reading I John this week, my friend and I finished John Ortberg’s book, The Me I Want to Be and in the last chapter he tells the story of Evelyn Brand, a woman who embodied the love of Christ in all she did for her whole life. Here is her story as told in the book:

…When she was a young woman she felt called by God to go to India. As a single woman in 1909, a calling like that required a truckload of faith and an equal amount of determination. She married a young man named Jessie and together they began a ministry to people in rural India, bringing education and medical supplies, and building roads to reduce the isolation of the poor.

Early in their ministry they went seven years without a single convert, but then a priest of a local tribal religion developed a fever and grew deathly ill. Nobody else would go near him, but Evelyn and Jessie nursed him as he was dying. He said, This God, Jesus, must be the true God because only Jessie and Evelyn will care for me in my dying.

The priest gave his children to them to care for after he died — and that became a spiritual turning point in that part of the world. People began to examine the life and teachings of Jesus, and in increasing numbers began to follow him. Evelyn and Jessie had thirteen years of productive service, then Jessie died. By this time, Evelyn was fifty years old, and everyone expected her to return to her home in England. But she would not do it…

She was known and loved for miles around as “Granny Brand,” and she stayed another twenty years under the mission board she had served so faithfully. Her son, Paul, came over when she was seventy years old, and this is what he said about his mom: “This is how to grow old. Allow everything else to fall away until those around you see only love.”

…She had spent her life in India, including twenty years of widowhood, and at age seventy she received word from her home mission office in England that they were not going to give her another five-year term. They felt that she was simply getting too old.

But she was also stubborn.

A party was held to celebrate her time in India, and everyone there cheered her on. “Have a good trip back home,” they all said.

“I’ll tell you a little secret,” she announced. “I’m not going back home. I’m staying in India.”

Evelyn had a little shack built with some resources that she had smuggled in. Then she bought a pony to get around the mountains, and this septuagenarian would ride from village to village on horseback to tell people about Jesus. She did that for five years on her own. One day, at seventy-five years old, she fell off and broke her hip. Her son, Paul Brand, the eminent doctor, said to her, “Mom, you had a great run. God’s used you. It’s time to turn it over now. You go on back home.”

“I am not going back home,” she said…She spent another eighteen years traveling from one village to another on horseback. Falls, concussions, sicknesses, and aging could not stop her. Finally, when she hit ninety-three years old, she could not ride horseback any more. so the men in these villages–because they loved Granny Brand so much–put her on a stretcher and carried her from one village to another. She lived two more years and gave those years as a gift, carried on a stretcher, to help the poorest of the poor. She died, but she never retired. She just graduated.

This is an amazing story to me. Not just because Granny Brand loved God and loved people so much that she spent her life – in sickness and in health – telling people about Him, but the fact that her love for the people and for God had been multiplied and that translated into people loving God, her, and others so much that they were willing to carry her around on a stretcher for two years so she could continue to love people enough to tell them about Jesus.

“Love makes people do, the things they know they ought to do…”

We need God’s love to invade our souls that much. We need to show God’s love in extravagant ways. People need to see nothing but God’s love shining through us.

I want to be like Granny Brand. I want to have that kind of love for Jesus.

How about you?

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