A Story of Love In Action

When you think about love what do you think about? Hearts, flowers, holding hands? Well today I’m not talking about romantic love, I’m talking about loving your neighbors. I’m talking about what scripture means when it says in Mark chapter 12, verses 30 and 31. Here is what those verses say:

And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.

Let’s talk a bit about loving your neighbors. This year at TFC we have a student who struggles with mobility. She uses a walker and it is really a chore to get around a campus as large as ours. One of our staff members put out a request through social media to locate an electric wheelchair for this student. Let me tell you what happened.

Our Stephens County Sheriff, Randy Shirley, saw the request and made some contacts on his own. He located a beautiful red electric wheelchair that had barely been used. He contacted the owner, made the donation arrangements, and picked up the chair. The Sheriff’s Office cleaned the chair, charged the batteries, and delivered it to the student here at TFC. I only wish you could have seen the student’s face when she took her first ride in that chair. Her life was just changed.

All of us at TFC want to thank our Sheriff and his staff for demonstrating to all our students what loving your neighbor looks like in action. In a world that now records law enforcement conducting their daily business and looks to criticize their every move, it’s too bad someone didn’t record this special delivery to our student in need. I do know this…our student recorded it. She recorded this in her memory and she will never ever forget the love and kindness shown by our Sheriff’s Office.

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Hey…I’m Off to College!

College freshmen…this one is for you. It’s almost time to be dropped off to start your first year of college. I have been watching parents and new freshman go through this ritual for almost twenty-five years.

The scenario looks like this. A car that is completely stuffed comes through the entrance to the college. In the car are mom, dad, and as many brothers and sisters as can possibly fit. Mom and dad look apprehensive. You look a bit nervous but are trying to portray that cool college look. You know the one I mean.

You arrive at the residence hall and begin unpacking. Mom wants to see the dorm room. Dad is making sure everything gets unpacked properly. The brothers and sisters simply follow along. You are looking around to see who is watching and to also make sure you continue to maintain that cool factor through this entire process.

Soon mom wants to get the dorm room organized…new sheets on the bed, towels hung up, and pictures on the wall. Dad is pretty quiet just walking around looking at everything. A part of you feels a little bit embarrassed that your new dorm friends will think your family is a bit weird. You might even want your parents to stop helping so much.

May I give you some advice? Of all days just let your parents dote on you today. Let them get your room set up, let them go to the store for you, let them talk with everyone in your dorm. Your parents need this. Today is hard on them. They are saying good-bye to you. They have spent the last 18 years taking care of you and when they drive away from your dorm today their lives, like yours, have changed forever.

Make it special for them. Let them take a million pictures. Let them pose you for the pictures, let them hug you; let your dad give you his last bit of advice. Let them love you. Let them pray for you. It’s a tough day for them too.

As you think about the excitement of the future your parents will be remembering the day you were born, when you were six and broke your arm, when they taught you to drive, your first date…it will all come rushing in on them.

So today, hug them when you don’t have to. Tell them you love them. Thank them for shaping your life. Thank them for the years of investing in you. Thank them for sending you to college.

…and right before they leave tell them you love them…again.

Invest In Others This Christmas

This year WestJet, a Canadian airline, did something spectacular for Christmas.  As passengers checked in for a flight between two cities in Canada, Santa was at check in to ask each person what they wanted for Christmas.  Each passenger had something special they wanted.  One wanted a camera. A small child wanted a train. Another man wanted socks and underwear.  One family wanted a big television set.  After giving Santa their Christmas wish, the passengers boarded their flight thinking nothing more about their requests.

However, while the flight was in the air, WestJet staff members sent out teams to buy every item that had been requested when the passengers checked in for the flight.  The teams bought all the gifts, wrapped them, and were waiting with the surprises as the flight landed.

Instead of luggage coming from the baggage carousel, the passengers were greeted with wrapped gifts with their names on them.  Passengers received just what they had asked for at check in…including the family who wanted the large television set.  They received a fifty-inch flat screen TV.

Before we know it, Christmas will be over and we’ll return to old routines.  But the kindness for others, like that shown by WestJet, doesn’t need to stop.  We may not be able to buy a plane full of gifts for others but we can choose to help people every day.  All year long we see children in our community who need food.  All year long we encounter parents who don’t know how they will pay this month’s bills. All year long we meet folks who just need someone to listen to what they are going through and maybe offer a little advice.  All year long we run into people who just need a friend.  They don’t always need your money…they need your love.

This Christmas we celebrate the birth of Christ who was given to us by a God who really loves us.  As Christmas comes to a conclusion, will you continue to live this New Year showing others this same love of Christ?

We’re reminded of this in I Corinthians which says, Three things will last forever–faith, hope, and love–and the greatest of these is love.

Remember, some of the most important gifts you can give to others involve no money.  They simply involve you choosing to invest in the lives of others.  So, watch for opportunities to love others.  When you see an opportunity go ahead and take a risk. Investing and loving others really is a wise investment and will pay far greater dividends than any financial investment you will ever make.

You may read more of Dr. Myers’ writing at www.robertmmyers.com or view his work on Vimeo.

What Would You Like For Christmas?

Christmas is quickly approaching and everywhere we turn we are bombarded with advertisements encouraging us to buy just the perfect gifts for our family and friends.  This is a big time of year for companies to encourage all of us to spend our money and buy things. But is it possible that as followers of Christ we already possess one of the best gifts that we can give to others?

Last week I was in the Atlanta airport checking in for a flight.  I started talking with the woman checking in my bag at the counter.  I always like to take a little time and ask people how they are doing.  Most people will immediately say they are doing fine, but I always like to probe a little deeper.  As I asked this woman how she was really doing she began to disclose a lot more.  She had a headache from high blood pressure.  She had forgotten to take her medication the day before.  She was tired and really looking forward to just getting home.  We had quite a conversation that day.

You see we have a wonderful gift that we can pass on to others.  We possess the gift of Christ’s love.  What do we read in Matthew 19?  Love your neighbor as yourself.  There are many people who just need to see the love of Christ in us…to just know that we care about them and therefore Christ cares about them.  We can easily pass the gift of love on to others.  God freely gave us this miraculous gift and commanded us to pass it on…free of charge…to our neighbors.

So in this busy holiday time as you are in the stores doing your shopping, don’t forget there are tired, worn out folks who just need to see the love of Christ in us.  Take a little time and spend it with someone you don’t even know.  Get to know them a bit.  Talk with them.  Listen to them. Laugh with them.  Show them the tremendous love of God.  It’s one of the best gifts you can give this year and it just might lighten the burden for someone who needs some relief so badly.  The love of God is a gift folks will gladly receive and never forget.