Summer is here and that means one thing – Love Island has returned! Now before you judge me, please trust me and continue reading to the end of this blog.
I guess you could say it is a guilty pleasure for me – I do not know why it appeals to me but it does. Maybe it’s the drama, the love, or the escapism from the reality of life. Love Island is about a group of singletons flung into a villa together in order to find love. Are the contestants really searching for love or are they searching for influencer status, a shot at fame, or lucrative brand deals? As each series goes on it becomes clear that many of the contestants are not searching for love but for the other benefits that come with being on the show.
During my time with the Mission, I have encountered guests who are searching for something. Maybe it’s accommodation, support, their next way to escape reality or searching for a community. Pam, Lorna, and I are currently working with guests who are searching for a more settled way of living. As believers, are we confident enough in knowing what it is people are ultimately seeking? Or because we have supposedly found what we were searching for, do we forget others are still on that journey?
I love the recollection of John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus in Matthew 3:1-6:
In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’”
John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
After a long period of waiting and searching (around 400 years), John came bursting on the scene and pointed towards Jesus. He prepared the way for the very person the people were searching for, yet many still missed the Messiah. Their focus was on other things and priorities had shifted (maybe just like my priorities when I sit down to watch Love Island at 9pm?). Imagine being one of those waiting for the Messiah to appear – what would have been going through their minds when they heard John speak? Would they have appreciated that the Messiah was finally coming or would they have remembered the disappointment of the last 400 years and not have wanted to get their hopes up?
People today are also disappointed and fed up of waiting and I believe it is our responsibility as believers to point the way to Jesus. We should be an example to those around us and we should call out the potential in others even when they are searching for other things. What is the best way for you to prepare the way for others to encounter Jesus? What can you do to make the path clear for them?
Do you need to refocus and rediscover the excitement of when you first encountered Jesus? I know I need to refocus often. What could happen if people encountered Love himself (1 John 4:16)? Would they continue searching for other things or would they be satisfied? If we truly believe, we have the answer then let’s do something with it. The revelation is for us to work on being the best example of Jesus here on earth and point people towards Love, the One people are truly searching for.
Housing Settlement Officer