(Article written for WordBytes)
This week it is my pleasure to introduce a dear friend and sister-in-Christ, Bethany Spilde. She is the president of IRiseAbove, a organization whose mission is to "empower, inspire and mentor young adults to discover their purpose and to RISE ABOVE fears and comfort zones, to live significant and fulfilling lives on purpose." Bethany was featured on WORDBYTES ONLINE last year and has volunteered to share with you "Last Words: Live Out of Love." This was written to support me as I recently experienced the homegoing of my Dad. Her love and unselfish offer is typical of Bethany as she lives out her faith daily trusting God and spreading the joy of Jesus everywhere she goes. Thank you Bethany for your love!
There is a season for all things (Ecclesiastes 3). As the wise Solomon observed, God's truth is penetrating reality as I watch not only the snow fall in Kansas--but the changing of life seasons.
For the past several months, each of the women in my prayer group have been caring for a close family member. We've celebrated answered prayers as well as comforted and encouraged during challenging times--always trusting God, who makes all things work together for our good, whether we understand or not (Romans 8:28, John 13:7, 2 Corinthians 1:9).
Last week, the father of my dear friend and teacher, Eileen, went on to be with Jesus. The way she describes her daddy makes us all smile and giggle. He loved the Lord with all his heart. He loved his wife and kids. He loved chocolate and making people laugh. This 93 year old man was stubborn and joyful, witty and sweet. He was even Eileen's date to events before she got married years ago! So many stories to be remembered and shared to celebrate his life!
Each of our lives is indeed a story--a smaller story within God's Greater Story. All of us, regardless of culture, have a God-given innate sense of eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11). We know that there is more than this world. Our lives are but a flicker of time compared to eternity. And any suffering we experienced in this world, will be peanuts compared to the glory of seeing Jesus face to face.
God's eternal story is one of Love. He is love. Jesus demonstrated how to love God and others--which are the greatest commandments. We can't love God without loving others (1 John 4:20). Love compels us to speak words of kindness and encouragement, serve others unselfishly, and persevere with hope and faith.
When we come to the last breaths of life--what will your last words be? Last words are a reflection of the life lived. What story is your life telling right now? Paul's letter to Corinthians (Chapter 13) reveals that without love - without God - there is nothing. I challenge you to meditate through these verses and then replace "love" with your name. Ask the question, "is this true"? (i.e. Love is patient... Bethany is patient...)
Final words: Live LOVE!