Extraordinary love

Leonard’s memorial service was last Saturday. He and his wife, Betty, had been members of our congregation for a number of years. Leonard was a hard-working guy who was part-owner of an auto garage, drove a log truck and faithfully served around the church. He didn’t serve by doing things upfront, but when something needed to be repaired Leonard was the one to call.

Some of the words that could be used to describe Leonard might be dependable, humble, quiet, faithful. He certainly wouldn’t be described as flashy or a guy who was clamoring to be the center of attention. He was the kind of man the world often doesn’t pay much attention to or notice. He was one of those guys who is like a hidden gem whose value the world overlooks.

Betty came down with a serious and rather mysterious illness a number of years ago. Leonard didn’t leave Betty’s side much after that and when I’d visit them it was now Leonard who fixed the coffee. He faithfully took care of Betty until she needed more medical care than he and the family could provide at home. She eventually had to go into a care center in a town a 45-minute drive one way from their home. Leonard made the trip each day until he couldn’t drive himself there any more. After that he got somebody to drive him to see Betty every day.

Leonard might not be the kind of guy they write romance novels about or make movies about. But he’s the kind of man who demonstrated what Christlike love looks like. It might not be flashy, but it’s faithful. Even though it can be hard and require sacrifice, Christlike love keeps serving day after day.

Proverbs 20:6 challenges us with the question: “Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?” At first glance the world considers men like Leonard to be kind of ordinary. But the kind of faithful love he showed Betty isn’t found on an ordinary basis. When it is found it ought to be respected and admired.

God can enable ordinary people to love in extraordinary ways. That enabling happens as we focus on and get overwhelmed by God’s extraordinary unfailing love for us. “I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness” (Psalm 26:3).

God keeps on faithfully serving us. God keeps on loving us, even though we’re needy and sometimes not easy to love. We strive to be faithful men and women, but we fall short. We give thanks that we can rely on the extraordinary faithfulness of God.

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