Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Wisdom Wednesday: Love continues at 40
Prologue: Just a video of one of my favorite songs lately, Remedy Drive’s All Along.
Time for another Wisdom Wednesday. I just have one verse from Proverbs today. It’s Proverbs 22:1, “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”
It was 40 years ago today…
That a Saviour was born…sorry Jesus, the boy’s a little crazy, too many surgeries to the head.
A rapper came from the East one day…stop it, that’s Ice-T. Yes, Rhyme Pays.
At 3:20 p.m., a bouncing baby boy was born. He came with issues, as all of us do. He was born with a clef pallet that would need surgery five times in the first four years of life. He was graced not to have the hair lip that usually goes with it. All that was left after those surgeries was a little hole that remains today. It’s the number one reason that he doesn’t peanuts. Because of that hole, there is a little vibration that causes a laugh at the end of his words if he doesn’t shut his mouth quick enough. It’s especially obvious during nervous moments. Other than that, he was born with one kidney, although he didn’t know that until last year.
Yep, that was me. When God says that we are individually and wonderfully made, he wasn’t kidding. When I was a kid, I got all hung up on how he messed up. The kid has a hole in the roof of his mouth and he talks a little funny. But as I grew, especially after I got saved, those feelings began to go away. Sure, I wish he’d put a padlock on my mouth sometimes so I wouldn’t eat the ever famous See-Food Diet and that would help the tummy flatten a little bit. But that’s the vanity part of me talking. Yes ladies, even guys are vain too sometimes.
There are two parts that God didn’t shortchange me on and I thank him ever so much for that. He gave me a mind to clearly think (most of the time) through life and make good decisions (again, most of the time). In that mind, he gave me a hunger to learn all about everything. While I wasn’t a Christian, I learned some stuff that wasn’t so good, but God has helped me work through that, just like he does with everyone else that asks him. But over the past year, he has reignited a hunger to learn about what he wants me to do with the second half of my life.
I think middle age is how you look at it. Most guys, and some of the ladies too, go through this insane time where we think we have to get young again and still show the world that we can go with the big dogs. Most of the time that makes us look silly. Silly and old. I know I’ve looked back and thought about my seeming goal of life to make a difference. My friend Chuck Herrin asked the question that was on my mind a week ago at our church’s ministry meeting, “Sometimes I wonder if I make a difference.” He answered the question too with a few cool stories and showed that yes, he had. But I do wonder sometimes.
In those stories, the funny ones from the teens he worked with were what made me laugh. But he showed me something else. In telling these stories, we come to realize that if people pick up these funny little things we do, they also probably pick up the serious stuff that we try to share with them too.
In 2002, I had just met Mindy, my soon to be wife, and I needed to get healthy. My friend Aaron McNeil was looking for someone to play tennis with. Let me tell you that I love to play, but I play tennis like I play golf, badly. But we went and had a great time. We talked about life as we played tennis. A few weeks later, I went to lunch with Aaron’s dad. I shared my story and told Pastor McNeil that my biggest feeling was that I felt like I needed to make up time for all those years I wasn’t a Christian and not making a difference. He starts laughing. I wasn’t getting the joke. He says to me, “Do you really worry that you’re not making a difference? Let me tell you something. You make a difference. I could line parents up to tell you the difference you make and I would be at the head. Sure, you’re not perfect, but you are developing Aaron as you spend time with him. The same with everyone else. You have a heart toward people. You love them so much that you can’t get enough of them. Your heart is proof that you have no time to make up as long as you keep giving of yourself.”
That’s the other thing that God didn’t shortchange me on. I do love people, sometimes to a fault. It causes me to see the good, sometimes blinding myself to the bad. It causes me to take risks I sometimes shouldn’t do. The thing that I never see is that God knew how it was going to work out. I still ask that question today some. “God, what are you doing? I feel like a fool out here.” He always reminds me to trust him and lead with love.
First Corinthians 13 talks about how love is supposed to be. Starting in verse 4, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
I look at that seriously and think that even with a good heart, how often I fail at loving the way Jesus does. Believe me, I’ve failed at every word at one time or another. But I am so glad that God doesn’t just say that I am finished because I fail. That’s why he gave me the handbook. That’s why he tells me to read it, daily. I fail at that too sometimes. That’s why he tells me to give my best to live it. Even if I’m shortchanging him and still giving my all, he has enough change to more than cover my faults, physical, mental, emotional, or even imagined.
So as I begin what experts say is the second half of life today, God tells me not to worry. Just love. I’ll take care of the rest.
A few notes of interest not related to the above. First, One Man Revival Ministries has a fan page on Facebook. If you’re interested in joining, head over there. I may start a discussion now and again on topics I’m thinking about and you can too. You can always keep up with the world that I am working in. One of the things that I would like to grow is other projects. When One Man Revival started, it was an idea just to do the daily encouragement blogs. But I also would love to get in on other writing projects and do speaking engagements to talk about this Jesus I love so much. Over the next little bit of time after my four days in West Virginia, starting tomorrow, I’ll be working on building that up. Any suggestions on how to make that page or any of the community pages I have up (Facebook, Blogger, MySpace, Shoutlife and Livejournal) look better and be more functional to you the readers, please give insight. You can do that on the pages or send me an email at email@example.com.
Finally, the aforementioned trip to West Virginia to celebrate my 40 years of life so far with some of my friends over there does start tomorrow. I understand that my hotel does have internet access, but if I am unable to connect, realize that I may not post again until Memorial Day. If I can, you’ll still get your dose of Prayerfully Minded Friday and thoughts and pictures from my Mountain State experience.
I love you guys, hopefully for the next 40 years too!