Friday, March 13, 2009

Selfless Living

I intend to write a book someday about the most selfless people I've ever met. I love surrounding myself with people who are more concerned about others than about themselves. Not only does it bring out the best in me, it's biblical living that is, in itself, a form of worship to God. Billy Graham once said "The highest form of worship is the worship of unselfish Christian service".

My wife Shondi is one of my spiritual heroes. She's the most amazing person that I know. As I tossed and turned in my bed last night(while she was leading a lock-in for our middle school girls from school), I kept thinking about how much of her life is spent pouring into others. At least a dozen times a day, I encounter her encouraging or comforting a student or staff member. She pours into our staff and our students in a way that almost seems "magical", that in reality is just the result of Jesus overflowing out of her life and into the lives of others.

Matthew 22:36 is one of the most profound passages in all of scripture. The "high and mighty" Pharisees, who were forever trying to "trap Jesus in His words"(Matt. 22:13), were asking Him about the greatest commandment in all of the law. Jesus gave them an answer that they never expected when He said "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

I think this is profound in this way... the Pharisees were masters of the law. They knew every word of the law and they devoted themselves wholly to following it. The Pharisees were threatened by the presence of Jesus because the truth of who He was was so contrary to their lifestyle of "being religious" by following a list of rules.

Here's the "whisper".... the majority of people find it much easier to be "religious" than to devote their lives to an everyday relationship with Jesus. Religion requires me to follow a lists of "dos and don'ts", but a relationship with Jesus calls for a total surrender of my life to Him. I am called to love Him with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength. As I grow into that, He gives me the ability to love others more than I love myself.

There is no way to "make" somebody love their neighbor. You can't put a list of rules together to be sure that people will end up loving others more than themselves. We don't have the capability of loving others more than ourselves. That is only accomplished through a heart that has been overtaken by the love of Jesus.

I think everyday is a good day for a heart check-up. How is my heart today? Has my flesh convinced me that as long as I do "this or that", or as long as I'm better than "so and so", I'm OK with Jesus. Is there any evidence that I belong to Jesus or am I just religious? Am I serving others through the overflow of my heart, which has been overtaken by Jesus or do I serve out of duty, or for my own gain?

Franklin P. Jones once said "Love doesn't make the world go 'round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile."

Love somebody more than yourself today!

Whatever It Takes,

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