September 20, 2014
God’s Love Perfected in Us
By Jason Parker
Since our God is love, those who know him live in love, and Christian Family Eldercare is a perfect opportunity for God’s love to be perfected in us. Nothing brings out the rich colors and grains of true love like caring for and committing yourself to the good of those who cannot give back.
But is it really true that they cannot give back? I believe that they can and do. As images of God, the elderly are inherently gifts of love from God to us. Just their presence in our homes and churches is good. Their presence opens the door to experiencing the full dimensions of love: loyal commitment to another’s good, sincere and deep affection, and union. Love seeks union with the beloved in order to give of who I am to enrich the other.
In the case of the elderly, that love particularly takes the form of honor, but it also takes the form of edification. As Christians, we know that our aging relatives are in the last laps of running their earthly race. We want them to finish their course well and to keep the faith. We want to spur them on to the award ceremony where they will receive the crown of righteousness. Contrary to popular opinion, the good life is not measured by what is commonly called “quality of life” but by our relationship to God. As we invest our love into our elders, we are not throwing it away on a soon-to-be-corpse; we are planting seeds which will bear fruit one hundred fold in the resurrection.
In a culture of narcissism, one of God’s greatest gifts to us, to enable us to know love, is the gift of aging parents and grandparents. Even as they show in their bodies the effects of sin and the curse, God uses that evil for good. God means their aging for our good, as we die to our worthless, selfish desires and give ourselves for them. God means their aging for their own good, as they turn more and more to what matters for eternity. God means their aging for the good of our society, as people see living love in their midst. Ultimately, God means their aging for his glory, as love to the dying testifies that death is not the last word, for Christ has risen.
It is time for the church to show that we are Christ’s disciples by the love we have for one another. What a great opportunity God has put before us – to know and show his love in caring for our elders!