Thursday, July 27, 2017

When the Niceness of Jesus Overflows From Us and Changes the World


I'm not sure what made me think about the daffodils yesterday, but, around the farm, they're the first flowers that bloom in the spring. They're planted along the fence line and stretch half-way down the drive. It's a glorious sight.

When the flowers were in full bloom, Sam would go down the row and pick a bouquet, careful not to remove too many from any one spot. He'd come to the back door and present me a double-handful of yellow sunshine. 

The first spring I was here, I was shocked that he'd picked what I considered "my" flowers. Later, I realized he'd helped plant them. After working on the farm for nearly thirty years, those flowers were as much his as mine.

When the magnolia across the lake bloomed, he'd bring me a blossom to "fill my house with the smell." The first time Sam gave me a milky-white magnolia surprised me, too. 

I'd received flowers before, but always florist-flowers. Sam picked what gave him joy and passed it along. Not once did I see him take flowers for himself. 

One day, as Sam gave me another bouquet, I thought, "He's such a romantic," and realized it was true. He shared the tenderness of his heart in little ways that were as consistent as the morning sunrise. The eagerness with which he gave his offerings of love reminded me of a young boy. He's too frail to pick flowers now, but the aroma of the offerings remains.

I wish I were more like Sam. 

I wish I noticed the world around me on a consistent basis.

I wish I gathered beauty, not for myself, but to simply pass along, because the gifting is a lovely moment, too.

I wish I were consistently kind, because there's great beauty in kindness.

This morning, I read John 15 and came across Jesus' command. "Love one another." I had a crazy thought. Jesus is as nice as Sam. Of course, I had that backward. The correct wording is, "Sam is as nice as Jesus." 

I thank God often that He's nice, and it always surprises people when I do. But He is. 

Monday, the funeral for my friend Jan's daddy was held. The sky had looked like an impending rainstorm all morning. I'd been concerned it would be just as threatening for the burial. 

Of course, it wasn't gloomy at all. God pulled back the clouds, filled the sky with blue, and let the sun shine it's brightest. It reminded me of Sam and the daffodils. A sweet gift filled with love. 

Imagine for a moment a world filled with the sweetness of Sam, which is really the sweetness of God Himself...

Wouldn't that be a better place? A more beautiful, peaceful place?

That kind of love and beauty is only possible if we make a start, for it must begin with us, the people of God. We, who were commanded by Jesus Himself to love must begin to do it with intention. It's not optional.

To love with the intention of Jesus, to share beauty with the abandon of Christ, will require that we slow down long enough to recognize the beautiful, to fill our hands with love, and pass it along. 

Don't we want this kind of life? Then why don't we demonstrate that desire by our actions?

Dear friends, time is short and we must make a start if we ever hope to do it. Be still. Look around. See with our hearts. Open our hands. Love. Share. Give. Do it all in the name of Jesus.

We could change the world...if we would. 

"This is my commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you."  John 15:12 nasb

"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." Romans 12:21 nasb
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