Learning to Lift: Jesus Style

As my 9-year old has grown, I've learned, out of necessity, the right and wrong ways to lift him.  If we're trying to get over a wall, the right way is to squat down and give him a boost.  The wrong way, trying to pull him up the wall, would only succeed in pulling me back down.

Whether we do it consciously or not, many Christians try to "help" people in the wrong way.  We sit atop our metaphorical perches, believing we know better, and have the means to lift people higher.  Believing we can "inspire" others, we hide our own mistakes and boast of our good deeds.  The great commission was to first make disciples.  Only then should we to teach them to obey.  The only thing that seems to inspire is a desire to give us a swift kick in the...I digress.

Not only does that tact fail, we, ourselves, fall into perhaps the most dangerous of sins: pride.  In order to reach that perch on the wall, we use the very people we're trying to help as footstools.  If we try to pull them up by force from above, we risk falling from the perch ourselves.

Scripture teaches us to love and serve.  Service means going to people's needs.  Service means talking to the woman at the well and offering living water.  Lifting people up means cleaning and bandaging their wounds even if they're our sworn enemies.  We must not only be willing to dine with sinners, we must be prepared to wash their feet.

Jesus himself came down from His heavenly throne to give us a boost.  If we wish to lead people to the cross, we must give them a boost from below.  "For all have sinned and fall short."  By that, we relate and give glory.
if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spiritd should restoree that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. (Gal 6:1)

Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.  (Luke 11:46)

My Epitaph

What would I want to be inscribed on my tombstone?  Some may find it grim that I'm planning for my death. I'm just trying to make it easier on Peggy so she can just pick out the material and font for my tombstone without having to figure out the wording.

Actually, having my epitaph now gives me a clear mission toward which I can align my life.  Articulating it publicly invites those I trust and value to hold me accountable.

He reflected our loving Savior.
For ages, children in church have sung, "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so."  While it's true, I've been blessed to now grasp his love in deeper and broader ways -- intellectually, emotionally, and Spiritually.  My life's greatest accomplishment would be to share that love with anyone with whom I come in contact.

But let me be clear.  While I want to love all of humanity, it doesn't comes easily or naturally to me.  Rather, what's natural is to be impatient and judgmental.  Only when I realize and remember that love for, from and through Jesus can true love for my neighbors manifest itself.

So there you have it.

  • Hon, it's $50/letter so we'd better start saving now.  
  • Brothers and sisters of the faith, hold me to it.  
  • Father, mold, chisel, and fire away.  I pray that I will be transformed for your glory.  Amen.