Friday, October 29, 2010
Pollen and Preferences
This is how we've come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves. 1 John 3:16
One of the defining parts of my childhood was not a positive experience. This time of year, I'd find myself trapped in a world filled with pollen, which caused my body to react in a storm of sneezes, and outbreak after outbreak of hives.
Folks, picture yourself as a geeky looking little boy, who's trying hard to find a place in the social network. The last thing you want to do is stand out.
Well, sneezing 30+ times in a row, or showing up for school with more bumps on you than a gator's back doesn't exactly help you fit in. Having 3-D skin wasn't all that.
My parents tried all sorts of things to help. Doctors and vaccinations, sensitivity tests and plenty of benadryl. They ruthlessly tried to eliminate any and all allergens from anywhere near me. So feather pillows - gone. Wool clothing - gone. The food we ate was changed. At one point they even talked about moving to another state with less pollen.
But my father decided to take matters into his own hands. He went up and down the road we lived on, ripping up every goldenrod and flowering weed. There must have been hundreds. Then they weren't there.
Years later, I was talking with my mother around that time of year. She was looking down the road, the same one I had grown up on and she said "I just love this time of year, the leaves changing, the goldenrod - aren't they beautiful?"
I realized then that for them, their love for a wheezy, sneezing, itchy little boy completely overruled their preferences for what was pleasing to them. Doing whatever it took to help me breathe meant completely eliminating something that brought them pleasure. But you know when I think about it - they never let me know there was a cost.
Friends, as followers of Jesus and and as people pledged to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, how well are we doing at setting aside our preferences and living sacrificially to reach others with Jesus' love?
Do this - spend a moment in prayer for your friend who doesn't know Jesus.
Invest time in conversation with that neighbor or friend you never have time for.
Give all the love you have received and watch Jesus work.
Join me. We won't be perfect at it, but we'll be making a difference every time we do.
Love - because He loved us first.