I’m sensing a theme to my latest posts… We need more of these heart-warming stories in the media. Thanks to USA Today for this video.
I wish I could remember where I saw this.
The question was:
What do you consider to be the most beautiful view in the world.
The smile and eye contact made by an elderly husband and wife as they speak to each other through their silence.
Becoming a Christian is easy. Being a Christian is not. Those who visit here often know about one of my daily prayers, “Lord, I pray I’ll be the man my kids see at church on Sunday”. It’s at the top of my blog’s sidebar and it’s displayed on a post-it attached to a family photo on my desk. It’s a great reminder for me to “walk my talk”.
As Christians, we like to think we’re not hypocrites. But, we’re very good at it. Well, I certainly am. We’re model Christians on Sunday morning, but as the day and week goes on, we tend to stop being Christians. Maybe not completely, but work with me here…
Maybe it’s Monday morning when the alarm goes off. Maybe it’s our drive home in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Maybe it’s at home when you walk in and discover your AC has gone out. Maybe it’s when we’re tired or distracted and only pretend to hear what our child or spouse is saying to us.
The reality is the life Christ has called us to is not humanly possible. Let’s take Jesus’ command to “love your neighbors as yourselves”. Pretty easy, right? BUZZZZZ! Wrong answer. Next contestant, please. 😉 Even harder is his command to “love our enemies”. I don’t know about you, but that one is not working out so well for me.
Loving the guy who just rear-ended you because he was talking on his cell phone is not easy. Loving an associate who stabbed you in the back for personal gain is not easy. The rapist, the terrorist, the child molester–loving these people is not easy. But these are the people that Jesus commands us to love. These are the very people that Christ hung out with.
At best, we tolerate them, bite our tongues and wait for the moment to pass. We certainly don’t invite them to church. We don’t sit down with them over a cup of tea and listen to their life story. I don’t believe we are necessarily being asked to love them in the emotional or intimate way we typically associate with love. Rather we are to love them for what they are; a creation of God. Someone with a more theological bent may have better way to describe it, but I believe we are allowing God to love through us. This is not a love that is generated within our own beings or by our own desires. This love is generated by allowing God to have all of our heart, so that He can love through us. When this happens we get to experience God’s love for others through our heart.
Christianity is not easy. Thank God for His grace.
Business travel and just plain ol’ livin’ has kept me away from the blogosphere for a while. I just got back from our user conference that we held in one of my favorite cities, San Antonio. It’s about a 2 1/2 hour drive from here and has been a family favorite for long weekends and anniversaries for many years. I have great memories of times on the Mission Trail, El Mercado, HemisFair Park, The Alamo, strolling along the River Walk, breakfast at Mi Tiara’s and the myriad of shops, restaurants, sights and smells. However, there was something different about this particular trip to San Antonio. It was the first time I’d ever been without my family. It didn’t really strike me until I was on a break and making a call to my wife on my cell phone. I walked over to an open area that overlooked a spot on the River Walk where we would often sit and listen to a particular group of Andean musicians. They happened to be setting up to play and soon the familiar music was taking me back to the wonderful times we shared there. A sudden and powerful “I miss my family…” feeling poured through me and I began to experience several emotions. I smiled remembering the many wonderful times we had there. As my kids are beginning their own lives, I was sad realizing that we would likely never be there as a family of four again. Then, I was excited thinking about the times we may share here with our kids and their families in the years ahead. San Antonio is a wonderful city. But, I realized it wasn’t the sights, sounds and smells that made up my memories. It was sharing them with the people I love more than anything else on this earth; my wife, my son and my daughter.
I thank God for blessing me with such a wonderful family and for the love and memories we share.
My wife and I are participating in a group study of Dr. John R.W. Stott’s “New Issues Facing Christians Today”. It’s a very challenging and, personally speaking, very convicting book. I won’t get into the meat of the study, but I wanted to share something from the book. Stott argues that many well-intentioned Christians “prattle, plan and pray” but ignore the real need. He tells of a homeless woman whom a parish priest promised to pray for as a brush-off, and who wrote the following poem:
“I was hungry and you formed a humanities group to discuss my hunger
I was imprisoned and you crept off quietly to your chapel and prayed for my release
I was naked and in your mind you debated the morality of my appearance
I was sick and you knelt and thanked God for your health
I was homeless and you preached to me of the spiritual shelter of the love of your God
I was lonely and you left me alone to pray for me
You seem so holy, so close to God – but I am still very hungry and lonely and cold
I was convicted because she could have very easily been writing that poem for me.
Matthew 25:35-36 says, “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
I am reminded that as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. As the church, we are not only to hear the word, but to act on it. By “doing” we are following God’s will out of love and gratitude for our salvation.
Today is my wife’s birthday. I won’t say how old she is, but I just had my 47th birthday and she’s as old as I am! We’re three days apart. She loves rubbing in the fact that she is younger than me for those 3 days, too…
We’ve been married for 25 years and have known each other for 31 years! No way…
We met when we were 16 and, I’m proud to say, we are High School sweethearts. Has it always been blissful? Of course not. BUT…I can honestly tell you that I do not know where I would be without her. She is a saint on Earth. Yes, she is.
She is smart, sexy, makes me laugh, touches my soul and is the one the Lord meant just for me.
In every way she can be beautiful…she is. In every way a mother should be…she is. In every way I could love her…I do.
I love you, Sal.