I’m going to a funeral today. My cousin’s wife, Alice, passed away from cancer at the young age of 65. I’ve known Alice my whole life. She was a member of Coopersville CRC, a beautiful teenager when I was a young boy. I remember when she started dating my cousin Al. I’ve watched her through the struggles of a difficult marriage, the hard stewardship of a permanently disabled child, and through it all, a gentle but fierce endurance in her faith and for her family. Alice did not have an easy life – but it had the weight of sacrificial love and true faith. It was a life that mattered in the halls of heaven.
The Bible continually encourages us to live our few days with eternity in view, to build a life that has weight and worth in the eyes of holy angels and our Lord Jesus (1 Tim 5:21). What is at the heart of such a life? What is the essential ingredient that creates something of noble value and beauty in the eyes of God?
Let me suggest two things.
First, faith. “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb 11:6). Faith unites us to the person of Jesus Christ so that all the mighty, regenerating, justifying, and transforming reality of his saving work can invade our lives and make us new creations – the very children of God. That’s where a life of infinite value and glory begins.
Second, love. Not romantic love. Romance is a wonderful gift but it is not the stuff honor and eternal beauty are made of. The love that creates substance and significance is a serving and suffering love. It’s a love that lays down personal convenience and comfort for the sake of ministering to the needs of another. It isn’t fun. Oftentimes it is overwhelming and heartbreaking. It will usually feel unnoticed, undistinguished and go uncelebrated. But, just as God molds a beautiful butterfly in the dark and quiet of a cocoon, so he molds beauty and honor and glory in the quiet acts of selfless sacrifice and serving love.
The only thing that counts is true faith and sacrificial love. But, boy, does it count. The gold of your life isn’t mined on vacations or dinners out with friends – but in the quiet places of prayer and pain in the work of faith and love.
At our last prayer meeting a young couple, Jordan and Corissa Veurink, gave a powerful testimony of their choice to embrace such a life through foster parenting. Please read it. And then consider your own life. God used their testimony to challenge me to consider my life. What am I embracing and pursuing? Comfort and convenience or faith working through sacrificial love?
We have a loving Savior in heaven and a whole world of need at our doorstep. We have every reason for faith and countless opportunities for love. Let’s embrace them!

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Dale

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