A parable about love (any resemblance to some actual church or family is likely, but sad)

Carey was a fairly successful businessman with a large family. Life had been good to him. He had prospered and raised a great family. His children, however, were all grown, but living all over the country. He and his wife were somewhat active in several civic groups and attended well-known church. Their’s was a happy, well rounded life — almost an idyllic life.

Some years after he retired, Carey was diagnosed with leukemia. He was blindsided by the diagnosis. It meant long treatment and a change of lifestyle. Life was going to change. 

He had hoped — and expected — some of his many cohorts, acquaintances, and companions from the many groups he belonged to — and his church — would immediately jump into his life with loving encouragement and support as he went through his scary treatment regimen with its dire medical prognosis. He was wrong.

Everyone had said they loved Carey. But no-one from the civic groups, church or family dropped by see him. A couple did put on their Facebook page that they were thinking about him or praying for him. Three or four sent a short email message that they would pray for him and his family. But not even one sent a card or gave a phone call. He then learned a personal lesson: that the modern communication was a easy out, but didn’t come close to being the support or encouragement that a personal visit — or even a card with a note. He knew how he would be willing to put out more effort and time to encourage others, if he ever had the opportunity again.

He recalled that every time he was around people they would profess that they loved each other. His church taught that we were to love one another, to encourage one another, to build one another up, and to show the world what a loving church they were. 

Facing this new dire threat without the support of family, friends and his church, he began to wonder if anyone even loved him at all.

We would all likely agree that most likely all those people —family, of course, church family, civic groups — did indeed feel love each other and him. It just seemed, however, that most folks nowadays just don’t know how to express it. Maybe the church needs to go beyond teaching us that we are to love as Jesus loved and give concrete examples of how to love. It may not involve a massive time or effort commitment, but it does involve some type of action. When a person is hurting, even small actions, such as an email helps some, but a phone call or a personalized card are better, but better still is a drop by, even if it is 5 minutes. But to do nothing is not love.

Church application: How often have we heard people say, “We love our church!” but when it comes about serving in any capacity, checking up on the elderly or hurting, doing those “small things” that add up so importantly in a loving “family” they don’t have the time or aren’t willing to put out the effort. The claim to love God, but aren’t willing to spend any time loving him in service. I think many need to read and ponder 1 John. Those same people probably complain about their kids unwilling to help around the house or gripe about those who won’t come or contribute to their family reunion. “Where’s their love?” they ask. Hmmm.

Love is not words, but action. Jesus said the world would be drawn to the church when they SEE how much they love each other. Is our love visible? This is something we should all consider more. How can we make out love visible? How are they going to see the love of Christ in us and be drawn to him. That might take more than a phone call, but it is a start.

Look around: know any family, elderly couple or shut-in that could use a visit, a card, a meal, transportation to the store, or ssome cookies?

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