Its 10:30 am. I’m sitting in my office at home eating a wonderful late breakfast: pan fried ham and scrambled eggs with curry. It’s a delicious way to have scrambled eggs. You should try it sometime.
I have a full schedule today. My plan was to visit with 6 people today in my ministry office and be there until 9 or 9:30 tonight.
I’m home, instead.
One of the men I watch over…pastor…is a young man. Has stage 4 prostate cancer which has metastasized all over his body. I try to spend time with him every Friday but it doesn’t always work out that way.
It’s been hard to watch but I think it is important that I be an active part of his life at this time. He is my friend.
A little while ago a relative called me to tell me that hospice is having trouble catching his breakthrough pain. Every time I see him or talk to his parents their sad reports are that his condition is steadily declining.
His report is that he is, and I quote, “Kicking cancer’s butt”.
I appreciate his courage and optimism.
I set aside my plans for today. I may still find myself in my ministry office – I don’t know for sure. I offered to go be there with them and am awaiting a call from them.
I’ll do whatever it is they need for me to do for them today.
It is my belief that in God’s economy the most important…is the weakest and the frailest. That’s why He came to earth and took the form of a man….we were weak and frail….spiritually dead even. It was worth it for Him to leave what He was doing…and come to save us.
Why did He do that?
He LOVES us – and that often means self-sacrifice, the abandonment of our plans, comfort, ease…
It often means hurting along WITH someone else.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15)
We all enjoy rejoicing and having fun with others; I’ve certainly spent a lot of time laughing with my friend.
Our culture doesn’t much like to share with other people’s pain. We have a tendency to shrink back from uncomfortable things.
I think when we do that with the people with whom GOD has chosen for us to share this life, we cheat them out of the comfort we can bring just by being with them….and we cheat ourselves of many things God has intended for us.
For instance…consider this plate of scrambled eggs with curry.
I learned about it from another man I pastor and call friend and brother: Michael Newman.
Michael lives in Houston and a few years ago I was supporting him through his realization that his mother might not be alive much longer as she had suffered a terrible stroke.
I knew he loves his mother deeply and was intending to visit her in his hometown of Pensacola, Florida. I offered to ride along to be there for Michael in his pain.
We’ve discussed that trip many times and remember the things we experienced together on that trip.
One morning, in Michael’s mother’s house, he cooked breakfast for me and the eggs tasted different….a GOOD difference. I asked about it and he told me how he made them, using curry…a unique idea to me.
It might seem like a small, insignificant thing but this is just one of many, many ways God blessed me on that trip.
I try to never do what I do “in ministry” in hopes of getting anything back – I trust the Lord. But the fact remains that God DOES bless us.
As I sat here today wondering how now my day would go, having totally prepared myself and the people I planned to see today, God put it on my heart to make myself some scrambled eggs with curry.
My heart is heavy for my friend and his family and the many, many people that will miss him should the Lord decide it’s his time to join Him.
God wanted to minister to ME by reminding me that when we choose to LOVE another – He sees that. He wanted to remind me that my relationship with Michael Newman is richer now…after his mother’s death….than it was before because we shared what was a difficult time in his life.
It’s easy for us to say “I love you” to someone else.
It is a completely different matter to practice the action we call LOVE.
“Jesus said to him, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’” (Matthew 22:37-39)
When Jesus told us to love our neighbors (literally, those near to us) He wasn’t talking about a warm, fuzzy feeling (although, that IS nice to feel.)
He WAS talking about being prepared to sacrificially love someone else, meeting them at their point of need…giving what THEY needed….when THEY needed it…even at our own expense.
It is exactly what Jesus did for us and I believe that when we obey that second commandment…we are also fulfilling that first one because LOVING God means loving what He loves…and He loves people.
Michael Newman and the others in my life are in my life at God’s choosing. HE arranged that.
I am aware of this and am writing this so we can think about our all-knowing Father in heaven and consider how we can honor Him by actively loving those around us.
I hope anyone reading this is not under the impression that I have written this to gain the praise and compliments of other people. I’m pretty satisfied that God accepts me and approves of me….so…I’m not in bondage to needing the approval of people.
I am writing this to encourage us all...and to remind myself…that the pain we experience when we serve other people…weeping when they weep…is so worth it.
And…sometimes….we receive something that lasts us the rest of our lives.
These eggs were delicious.
Thank you, Father, for arranging for me to have these today.
Author's Note: The young man I mentioned earlier, Jim Lott, went to be with the Lord Monday, May 14, 2018 in Dallas, TX after a courageous two-year fight against cancer. I miss him terribly.