I know it’s weird, but I’ve been thinking way too much about my death lately. I’m having a terrifying premonition that something is about to happen to me.
Though I hope to God this is just one of those strange thoughts we all have from time to time as we get older… it’s really affecting me today.
For the past few days, I’ve been staring deeper into the eyes of people who mean so much to me.
I’ve been lingering on phone calls for an extra few seconds, taking a little longer to say goodbye… saying, “I love you” with far more emphasis.
This afternoon, I even had to turn away from my wife and walk out of the room, because I didn’t want her to see the swelling tears in my blood-shot eyes.
I guess this started a few days ago, when I watched a movie about the untimely death a good man. He knew it was coming, so he lived out his final days just as I would… concerning himself with his survivors. Did they really comprehend how much he loved them? Or had he failed to convey this to them, because his life was so darned laden with responsibilities and demands.
Love is the most beautiful force in the universe.
To deeply love the people around us is the greatest gift from God.
To never truly love is the greatest tragedy.
But love is painful.
There is no way to have love without the pain that comes with it.
The more you love, the more it hurts when your love is rejected.
Some people live with the constant agony of never being able to adequately convey their love to others.
Being a church pastor is one of the easiest ways to experience the kind of pain I’m writing about.
For the past 10 years, I’ve made it my highest life purpose to love every single person God has brought into my life. Of course I’m just one man and I’m not omnipresent, but I’ve driven the wheels off of my life to care for as many as I can.
I visit them in the hospitals, jails, and nursing homes. I comfort them at funerals. Applaud them at weddings and graduations. I call, text, Facebook, and twitter sincere words of encouragement to as many people as any one person can reach… not just once in a while. I do this every day of my life.
Yet, there are always people walking away mad… because of the things I’ve failed to do.
It would be so easy, if I could just stop caring.
But, I haven’t found a way to turn it off. When I first started, people promised me that it would not hurt after it happened enough times. They said that my heart would develop a tough layer around it.
Thank God they were wrong.
Because, if it ever stops hurting, it’s no longer love.
If the cost of love is the pain of rejection, then this is the cross I will bear.
Just imagine how God must feel, when His perfect love is rejected by multiplied billions of people from around the world. Yet, God keeps reaching out to people, just like He did when He was fresh off the cross!
He [Jesus] was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. (Isaiah 53:3 NKJV)
He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. (John 1:10-11 NLT)
At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him. (John 6:66 NLT)
Then all his disciples deserted him and ran away. (Mark 14:50 NLT)
This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:12-13 NLT)
When we are rejected by the people we are trying to love, I hope that we will stay to our mission just like Jesus did, without becoming cold and cynical.
I hope that we will never stop loving and sacrificing our lives for others.
Never stop loving.
Real love always expresses itself with a sacrifice!
Sometimes, you have to love some people for a few decades before it’s ever reciprocated.
Sometimes it never is.
I will end this message as I began it, talking about my death.
Even if I live to be 100, life is still short. The greatest achievement I can every wish for, is to KNOW at the end of my life that I FOUND GOD’S LOVE, and that I GAVE IT TO OTHERS, BEST I KNEW HOW.
With whatever time I have left on this earth, I now pray my biggest prayer… that everyone around me will always know how much I love them. Even when I fail them. Even on the days when I am selfish and self centered. May I learn how to love as much as any human has ever loved. Please God, give me MORE of your perfect love. Cause people to see it, appreciate it, and benefit from it. -In Jesus name I pray, amen.
Todays image from Sodahead.com