Four Scenes of True Love
God has permitted me to witness no less than three distinct scenes of true love within the past two weeks. So distinct are they, sharing them with you permits a wondrous reflection upon these occasions, and an opportunity to encourage others with these realities.
On Thursday, January 27, at the beginning of a sixth-grade basketball game, the play was stopped for a “technical foul” in that the name and number of a starter’s jersey did not match. (This was all staged for a surprise to the player.)
The official notice of the adoption of Isaiah Wilson to the Johnson family came at 3:00 that afternoon and the coaches, and family coordinated to surprise Isaiah with his new jersey displaying his new name – JOHNSON. Not only was I a witness to this loving occasion but was blessed to be the announcer for the event. What an incredible scene of love to have the entire assembling at LCIS stand in acknowledgment of this blessed event! Tears of joy flowed down our cheeks as we applauded this family – a family of which all five of their children are adopted and all five children are special needs children.
That same night, at the seventh-grade game, Isaiah’s brother Nickolas, who was born with a deficient and unusable left arm, and a crippled right leg, was named as one of the starters for this ball team – just as he had been named in every home game of the season! Recognizing his physical limitations, even the opposing teams throughout the year made sure Nick received the ball at the tipoff, dribbled down the court, and shot until he made the basket – and the basket was counted every time! At the end of the games (depending on the score), the coach often put Nick into the game with the same courtesies from both teams. Nick’s smiling face said it all … actions of true love!
The third came with more solemn results but was presented with incredible love and adoration. BRYAN GUTHRIE, who has preached for the past six years at the Midtown church of Christ, presented the sermon last Sunday morning. Bryan is dying from pancreatic cancer. At his request, I attended just to “back him up if he had troubles preaching.” He did a splendid joy! His sermon used Mark 12:38 – 44 as a text and briefly explained how the Pharisees loved receiving the praises of men, while the poor widow proved her love for God by saying nothing and giving all she had. Bryan then did something very remarkable. He mentioned every member of that local group (all thirteen of them) by name, related what they had done and continued to do for the work at Midtown, and how they had consistently encouraged Bryan. His words melted my heart! I have never heard a finer sermon describing true brotherly love among brethren!
The fourth came this past Monday night. A call came from SCOTT MITCHEL, one of the brethren with the Galena church of Christ. He had been studying with an 82-year-old man and this soul declared his desire to be immersed into Christ. Of course, I agreed to open our building to their necessities. Four brethren from Galena changed their clothes and carried the aged man into the baptistry and upon his confession of faith that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, immersed him for the remission of sins. While compliant with Acts 2:38, the action was reminiscent of those who bore a paralyzed man to the top of a house, and cutting a hole in the roof, lowered the man to Jesus who not only healed the man but forgave his sins (Mark 2:1–12). Indeed, what an incredible scene of true love!
Such events are undoubtedly more common and frequent than most realize, but rarely does one have the blessing of being a part of such scenes four times in one week! It has caused me to pause and ponder – is it because I have been blessed to be personally involved, or have I failed to notice the actions that surround me in which I am not personally involved? Being involved or not does not change the actions of love, but it changes my observation of love. For example, some remain purposely concealed from public notoriety to supply the needs of the less fortunate privately and anonymously. Others stand ready, willing, and able to serve in the leading of songs, prayers, study, communion, serving in any righteous capacity at a moment’s notice; their minds consistently attuned to readiness for God’s service. Each of these shows true acts of brotherly love! Those who render such measures of love, esteeming others better than themselves (Philippians 2:3), are the epitome of obedience to Hebrews 13:1. Brethren, brotherly love cannot continue unless it first exists! And as with Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 4: 9 – 12), each can increase the actions of brotherly love more and more!
These four examples have taught me another valued lesson, something of immeasurable value to a Christian – HUMILITY! Someone wisely noted, “No one stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child.” Likewise, no Christian stands so tall as the one who sacrifices to bear another’s burden (Galatians 6:2) just as no one is more innocent of sin than when he/she is immersed into Christ for the remission of those sins, rising to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:1-6). How blessed to witness such truthful acts of love and learn the greatest lesson of all love was taught by the obedience of our Lord Jesus Christ (John 15:13). How blessed we are to witness His love by our eyes of faith, and to emulate it in our obedience to His Word (Colossians 3:1 – 17). Indeed, these are the true scenes of love!