Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. (1 Jn. 4:7)
On Diane’s first Sunday at our church, she introduced herself. She was from Washington D.C., and she had come to Houston to receive cancer treatment at M.D. Anderson.
After we had talked, I asked some folks to reach out and support her. Every six months for the next several years, Diane would return to Houston to receive follow-up treatment.
Sadly, Diane eventually succumbed to her cancer. When we were informed of her death, we were also told that Diane had left a very substantial bequest to our church. Her lawyer also let me know that Diane had requested that I do her burial service from a boat in the Chesapeake Bay.
On the night before the burial, I met with Diane’s family and friends at a restaurant. As soon as we sat down, her brother turned to me and said, “We were very surprised that Diane left money to your church. Why would she have done that?”
Before I had a chance to reply, one of Diane’s friends jumped in and said, “I know why Diane gave a gift to that church. She told me that she had never felt so loved as she did there. The love those people gave her helped her to live her last few years, and that love helped her to die.”
Today’s scripture tells us that all love is from God and that whoever loves knows God. If we ever wonder what most matters in this life, I encourage us to hear and embrace these words. Nothing else matters more than the love Jesus has for us, the love we have for Jesus, and the love we share with each other.
Diane’s bequest of money was a great gift to the church. An even greater gift was the love we shared, in the name of Jesus, with each other.
- On the boat, before we spread Diane’s ashes upon the water, people shared stories about her. It was clear that she loved well and was well-loved. What kind of stories will people share when you leave this life?
- As long as you have breath, you can change the goodbye narrative of your life. How can you live now so that people will say that you were well-loved and loved well?
- The stuff you leave behind will eventually be broken or lost. The money you leave behind will eventually be spent. The love you give and receive lasts forever. How well are you investing in and giving the currency—love—that has no end?