Where Do We Stand?
Recently I had a dream. That is significant because I almost never remember my dreams. I go to sleep and awake. If there’s anything in between, it’s usually lost forever. But this was different.
I was among others sitting near Jesus on a hill overlooking a beautiful pasture. Tall grass swayed in a gentle breeze. Patches of white, yellow, pink, red and orange lilies dotted the pasture. Hundreds of people stood among them.
Jesus rose and walked among the crowd. As He passed, He looked intently at each person. His eyes never betrayed His thoughts or purpose. As He made His way, He separated the people into two groups, then returned to the hill.
Loving Jesus requires that we love each other. 1
Gazing at those on His right, He called out, “Thank you. When I was sick, you came to pray for me. When I was discouraged, you encouraged me. When disease filled the world, you put aside your own wants to protect me and did not judge those who would not.”
The people were confused and called back, “But Lord, when did we ever do such things?” Jesus answered, “Whatever you did for my brothers and sisters, you did for me. I know you.”
Then Jesus turned to the others. “When I was sick, you never came. When I was discouraged, you only complained. When disease filled the world, you thought only of yourselves, did nothing to protect me, but freely judged those who did. Whatever you did not do for my brothers and sisters, you did not do for me.”
And He never said loving each other was easy.
“I do not care how busy you think you are, or the self-made priorities that serve only as your excuses. I care about whether you love, encourage and care for each other. Those who love me, follow me. And those who follow me, obey me. But you…I don’t know you.” 2
In an instant the grass and lilies around them withered and died. Then Jesus looked at those sitting near Him. “Soon all people will be separated as you have seen here. But there is still time. Warn them!”
In Matthew, Jesus described a similar vision. 3 There He also said, Whatever, making it clear there are no limits to how we love, encourage and care for others. Can it be difficult? Very, and often! But we can love, encourage and care for each other as we walk together long the Way.
Chuck Graham is Founder and Executive Director of Ciloa, an international ministry devoted to encouraging others and teaching them how to encourage one another. He is also an author and speaker. Chuck and his wife, Beverly, live in Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA. Learn more about Chuck and Ciloa at www.Ciloa.org.
Footnotes: (1) Read John 13:34. (2) Read John 14:15;15:10-15. (3) Read Matthew 25:31-46.
Pictures: Banner: Avalanche Lily Meadow by Jack Bauer. 1st: Taken from the original painting O Jerusalem by Greg Olsen.. 2nd: John 13:34-35, Bob Smerecki Art, Flickr. 3rd: Love One Another by Sam Balye, Unsplash.