I used to seriously resent the actual students at my high school who studied and messed up the curve for our slacker contingent. A similar phenomenon happens in my Christian walk. Occasionally a follower of Jesus will “mess up the curve” for the rest of us by actually demonstrating what it looks like to live for Christ. My friend Bob showed me what it looked like to love your wife like Christ loves the church. I must clarify that I didn’t resent Bob for living his life like that but it did leave me without excuse in my own marriage. And by simply living his life authentically he made me a better husband and follower of Jesus. He never said a word of rebuke nor offered any suggestions on how I should be a better husband. He showed me.
Now my friend John Weber has showed me through his death what it looks like when a man or woman simply lives their life modeling the greatest commandments. I am again without excuse. John showed me that being an effective representative of Jesus is really very simple. Why do I want to make it so maddeningly complex? Jesus said that these two things are the most important.
One of the religion scholars came up. Hearing the lively exchanges of question and answer and seeing how sharp Jesus was in his answers, he put in his question: “Which is most important of all the commandments?”
Jesus said, “The first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.”
Today I sit here and wonder why I ever tried to make it anything else? The scholar who heard the words of Jesus “got it”.
The religion scholar said, “A wonderful answer, Teacher! So lucid and accurate—that God is one and there is no other. And loving him with all passion and intelligence and energy, and loving others as well as you love yourself. Why, that’s better than all offerings and sacrifices put together!” (Mark 12, The Message)
I wonder if I get it? Or do I still get sidetracked by the offerings and sacrifices of the modern church? It is really very simple. Love the Lord your God with all of your heart. Read the Word daily. Love others as you love yourself. That is what Jesus told me to do. Nothing about programs or positions or curriculum or strategies. Love God. Love others. Simple.
Does that actually work? Last night I witnessed the most incredible validation of that simple strategy that I have seen in my life. Hundreds upon hundreds of people lined up at First Baptist Church in Euless, Texas to show their respect and love for John and his family. The line snaked down a very long hallway and twisted around into the sanctuary. Waiting in line were rich people. Poor people. Famous people. Average people. Young people. Old people. All of them touched by the life of this unassuming man.
I know John would not mind me saying this because it puts the credit where he would want it to go. There was nothing at first glance about John Weber that would suggest his passing would draw thousands to pay respect. He was an average guy who understood that Jesus is always looking for willing workers. Perhaps growing up in South Dakota made John particularly aware of the principles of harvest that Jesus described.
When he (Jesus) saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” (Matthew 9, NLT)
Pray for more workers like John and Carol Weber. I have read or heard a comment something like this from nearly everyone who knew John.
“He made me feel like the most important person in the world.”
For Carol and her family this is a bittersweet fall. John will be terribly missed. But they have been blessed to see the incredible harvest that Christ can bring in through one worker wholly committed to Him.
Paul wrote to the church at Galatia…
…Those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith. (Galatians 6, NLT)
John has inspired me to finish strong with whatever number of days I have left. The fruit of his life humbles me. I wonder if I am being effective for Jesus. John Weber showed me how to do it. Love God. Love others. Hit the fields.
Simple. And so powerful.