I was given great advice over the years from several sources of God-loving-and-living men and women. Some were known for their speaking abilities of God’s word along with wisdom for explaining what His word meant for us. Some were known by their communities for loving like God loves us, unconditionally with forgiveness. Some of my mentors were within my own family growing up. I listened and tried to follow what I had learned because on their “best days” it matched what I was learning from God’s Word.
My dad was one of those mentors. He knew all the “dad jokes” along with his closest brother. I’m pretty sure that together, they were the origin of most dad jokes you hear today for I have heard them all my life! When he was quietly serious, bearing his heart for his family and his relationship with them, his advice was golden. At first, I didn’t understand it fully. Now that I am much older, going through what he had gone through with faulty family relationships, I “get it”.
As life-long believers, we long for everyone we know to know Christ and follow His teaching. We long for our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, aunts and uncles to know Him intimately, to hear His voice above all other voices and follow His leading to all that is good and right for us. We want our kids and grandkids to love the One that brought them into this world in growing relationship to God as well as to us. But, when they do not. It is devastating. Our hearts are broken to watch them fall in the weeds the enemy has thrown into the soil along with the wheat. The enemy has them and we feel at a loss to pull them out. But we cannot. The root of our relationships are entangled together in this world.
All of God’s created have free will to choose good or bad, to have their own way and even turn their backs on their Creator. As believers, what we do, according to Dad, is to continue a loving relationship with our beloved at all costs. Without that, there is no hope. Our deep love may or may not pull them out of the weeds, but our love is evident in the way we live before them. Our love for them does not change. We will always want God’s generous best for our lost loved ones but we cannot and will not stop our love for them. That’s how God loved us. We are to be imitators of God’s love so clearly demonstrated in the life of Jesus Christ, His Son.
Love God. Love Others. Jesus states over and over that these two commandments are the greatest. Love is what causes growth. Love is the basis of forever relationships that are based on truth and integrity.
Real, loving, lasting relationships with God and others is what God wants. To wonder and worry if we see our loved ones in heaven someday is not up to us and is not a healthy activity for us. Jesus warns us not to “uproot” the weedy relationships we have but to continue to live a life among the weeds with love, care and compassion. Jesus, the “farmer of our souls” will sort, separate, bundle at harvest. Those who have believed in the Farmer, lived and loved based on His love in them will be taken to the barn. I want to go to the barn. Jesus says He is preparing a place for me there. How about you?
Dad also said, “We might be surprised when we get to heaven, of who is there and who is not. God knows our hearts.” “He decides based on our hearts.” I know this is not your predictable “sermonette” based on this passage, but it is what God is writing on my heart today as I mourn the losses of my past mentors on this Memorial Day. I am remembering those who have gone before me who enriched my life. I also think about the lost among my family and friends who have said no Jesus, our Savior and Lord. Both are equally heart wrenching but love is stronger still.
“When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:11-13, NLT
Matthew-The Law Fulfilled
Matthew 13:24-30, New Living Translation
Parable of the Wheat and Weeds
24 Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. 25 But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. 26 When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew.
27 “The farmer’s workers went to him and said, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’
28 “‘An enemy has done this!’ the farmer exclaimed.
“‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked.
29 “‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.’”
Abba, Father in Heaven,
You are indeed Love, Truth, Mercy and Grace. You are Forgiveness. You are the Peace we seek. You are Wisdom for living as we learn from your Word. Thank you for all the mentors in my life that you sent to me to help me know you more. I have always had a desire to trust in you alone for my life because you never fail or leave me. It is hard for me to see people turn against You so blatantly and fearlessly. But in my brokenness, you remind me that it is you that will sort it all out and we are to adhere to love for you then love for others. To know you is to know real love for you ARE love. Thank you for loving me the way you do. Help me to love others in rich, growing relationships that stem from my growing, intimate relationship with you!
In Jesus Name, by Your power living in us, Amen