Tuesday, September 20, 2016

lessons from the ranch and lessons from Jesus

   Two different people in the past week have wanted to know about the greatest lesson I have learned from my time at His Ranch. Having been at the ranch for five Summer's now, I have learned lots and lots of lessons. I have learned the value of Popsicles, how to communicate with (boss around) a thousand-pound animal using just body language, and that kids are always looking for an example. I have learned dozens and dozens of lessons at His Ranch. 
   The biggest, most important lesson I have learned though, is the relevance of love. Love is always relevant, and it is absolutely vital. As Christians, our entire identity is caught up in love. Our purpose revolves around love. Our destiny is love. 
   Without Christ's love for us, we are nothing. Jesus said the first and greatest commandment is to love God, and the second is to love those around us. He said the world would know we were his disciples by the way we love each other. In John 15, he directs us to love one another even as he loves  us. He commanded us to love even our enemies. The names of Christ's love was sacrificial love. 
   Paul takes a whole chapter of his first letter to the Corinthians to talk about love. His point? Love is the greatest gift we have, and without it, anything we do is pointless. Romans 13:8 tells us that love is the fulfillment of all the law. Proverbs says that love covers all offenses, and 1 Peter implores us to love one another deeply, citing the fact that love covers a multitude of sins. 
   These things are not true only for those in ministry. They are not true only on Sunday morning or when we spend time with our Christian friends. They are not true only when loving someone includes warm, fuzzy feelings and sweet smiles. 
   These things are true when someone cuts you off on the freeway without even using their blinker. They are true when you have to remind a student for the ninth time in one lesson how to safely walk behind a horse. They are true when you encounter someone who doesn't look like you, talk like you, dress like you, or smell as nice as you. They are true when the kid manning the worship lyrics slideshow is behind a verse or two. They are true at Tuesday night Bible study and at Friday night football games. They are true when it comes to your boss, your mom, your friend who drinks too much, the guy on the stairs in front of you who walks too slowly, the cashier at the grocery store, your kids, your coworkers, your profs, and the neighbor kid whose name you can never remember. These things are true in every environment, and they are relevant in every situation. 
   I am learning that to God, love is a big deal. This means that to me, love should be a big deal. I am learning that the answer to most of my questions is love. I am learning that love is powerful, and it is special, but it is not reserved to special occasions. I am learning that whatever I end up doing, as long as I am doing it with love, I will be serving God. 
   I am learning that my entire purpose on this earth is to love God and love people. 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, however many years in my life, my purpose is love. I am learning to love like Jesus loves. And I love it. 

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