“Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers of love is Hell.” —C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
People need God’s love and He chose us to lavish it on them. But it isn’t safe—it breaks hearts and leaves scars—such love got Jesus killed. It’s not bottled up among safe friends and it can’t coexist with self-protection. “Love one another as I have loved you.” Now that’s risky.
Go make someone’s day—perhaps even that of your enemy.
“You asked for a loving God: you have one. The great spirit you so lightly invoked…is present: not a senile benevolence that drowsily wishes you to be happy in your own way, not the cold philanthropy of a conscientious magistrate, nor the care of a host who feels responsible for the comfort of his guests, but the consuming fire Himself—the Love that made the worlds, persistent as the artist’s love for his work and despotic as a man’s love for a dog, provident and venerable as a father’s love for a child, jealous, inexorable, exacting as love between the sexes. How this should be, I do not know: it passes reason to explain why any creatures, not to say creatures such as we, should have a value so prodigious in their Creator’s eyes. It is certainly a burden of glory not only beyond our deserts but also (except in rare moments of grace) beyond our desiring…” —C.S. Lewis on the Sermon on the Mount
Revel in this, for there is nothing greater—then go love others the same way He loved you.
(It’s okay—He will help.)
Illustration by Justin Sweet © 2006
“I used to think people complained because they had a lot of problems. But I have come to realize that they have problems because they complain. Complaining doesn’t change anything or make situations better. It amplifies frustration, spreads discontent and discord and can invoke an invitation for the devil to cause havoc with our lives.” —Dr. Dale Robbins
Jesus said, “Love one another as I have loved you”. We have a lot to complain about in this turbulent world, but it’s hard to gripe when we’re busy making other’s lives better—like Jesus did.
Turn off talk radio and your smartphone and go bless others. I’m sure you will make God smile.
And so will you.
(Back from Israel and Jordan—you gotta go and I’d love to take you.)
So—what are you spending on others this Christmas?
“And I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved,” said the Apostle Paul. In the same way, go before God’s people this day and spend yourself on them—pour out your all. Be fully spent this day on the people He has entrusted to you. Hold back not a single tear or drop of sweat on their behalf. Lay your whole heart on the line for them and do so with a supreme gladness to be able to do so. They may not respond the way we would like, they may not return the affection—the Corinthians did not to Paul—nonetheless, let us be spent for their souls this day for the glory of God. It is my prayer that this verse could be spoken of me, but also you all today—that we gave our all for the souls of the people of God. The Lord strengthen us in order to do so! —Pastor Jim Suttle
Add that to your list.
True story? No clue. Good story? Definitely…
Several years ago a preacher moved to Christchurch, New Zealand. Some weeks after he arrived, he had occasion to ride the bus from his home into the city. When he sat down, he discovered that the driver had accidentally given him a dollar too much change. As he considered what to do, he thought to himself, “You better give the dollar back. It would be wrong to keep it.” Then he thought, “Oh, forget it, it’s only a dollar. Who would worry about this amount? Anyway the bus company already gets enough; they will never miss it. Accept it as a gift from God and keep quiet.” When his stop came, he paused at the door, then he handed the dollar to the driver and said, “Here, you gave me too much change.” The driver with a smile, replied, “Aren’t you the new preacher just arrived in the city? I have been thinking lately about going to worship somewhere. I just wanted to see what you would do if I gave you too much change.” When he stepped off the bus, he grabbed the nearest power pole, held on and said, “Oh God, I almost sold your Son for a dollar.” Our lives are the only Bible some people will ever read. —Author Unknown
As Jesus’ followers, what we do says who He is; what we say becomes His voice. Be kind and love. You just never know…
Little things aren’t so small in a war…
“Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of. An apparently trivial indulgence in lust or anger today is the loss of a ridge or railway line or bridgehead from which the Enemy may launch an attack otherwise impossible.” —C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Small things go further than we know. Jesus said, “Love one another as I have loved you.” Small act, huge effect.
Plant the seeds of victory. Ruin the Enemy’s day.
Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel made a profound observation…
“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference… To remain silent and indifferent is the greatest sin of all.”
Jesus was never indifferent. He loved and things happened. Then He told His followers, “Love each another just as I have loved you.”
“…just as I have loved you.”