The Joy and Privilege of Loving Those Whom Jesus Loves

Taylor Gumm is an RUF Intern at The University of Connecticut. Taylor is from Marin Country, California, just 30 minutes away from where he attended college at U.C. Berkeley. In his time at Berkeley as a Sociology major, he found RUF, where the good news of God’s grace in Jesus became real to him. RUF was the highlight of his college years as he made lifelong friendships and unforgettable memories. He is excited to be serving at the University of Connecticut, where he hopes to help students experience the same love and community he did through RUF.

The RUF internship is a job where we pour into college students, especially those who are new
or not connected to RUF. While it is an intern’s job to give, we also receive something in this job
that will stay with us our whole lives: We learn the joy and privilege of loving those whom Jesus
loves. As we regularly go onto the college campus to pursue and invite students, we have a front
row seat to see the work that Jesus is doing in their hearts, and it is here that we learn just how
beautiful, diverse and welcoming His kingdom is.

As I prepare to preach my first sermon this semester from Luke 14, I am struck by the call of
Jesus as to whom we are called to move towards and invite. In this passage, Jesus tells a parable
to a Pharisee about the Kingdom of God and loving those who are on the outside. Jesus instructs
the Pharisee that the Kingdom is for the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind. It is for those
who know their need for God’s grace that will come to the feast, not the self righteousness of the
Pharisee who assumes he is in by his own merit. This is a radical call to the Pharisee and to us
about whom Jesus is inviting to His coming heavenly banquet, and our communities should
reflect this. In RUF, we get to be the invitation of Jesus to students, all of whom are broken in
their own ways. We do this so that they might come to taste and see His kindness, and feast by
His side forever. We get to carry this invitation to students in our one on ones, our Bible studies,
and in the many other ways we invest in their daily lives.

The college campus can be a place that puts certain people on the outside, just like the people
Jesus listed would have been cast out in His day. Students who struggle with anxiety,
awkwardness in social situations, and those who aren’t “cool enough” are often sadly left out or
forgotten about in the life and rhythms of campus. Whether it be social groups, clubs, sporting
events or other college activities, there are students who don’t feel invited in. The beauty of RUF
is that we get to create a community on campus that encompasses both the students that are
easily involved in the social life of campus, and those who have been left out. In Christ, those
that are “in” and those that are “out” are brought together in a community centered around God’s
word to love each other and to grow with one another. I consider this a great privilege to get to
help foster this type of community.

The RUF internship is teaching me that I too am poor, crippled, lame and blind, and how I can
quickly exclude those that are hard to love or not like me. The gospel gives me the freedom to
acknowledge this in myself, while also calling me to go out and love the wonderfully diverse
people that Jesus loves. Jesus’ unique love for the lowly is the perfect example for me as I work
to love my students, my staff and my local church. The RUF internship has been the best place
for me to learn this, and I know it will continue to be as I pursue and welcome students on