Wednesday, August 12, 2015

What's Life Got to Do With It?

We stood in the garden, our precious 4-year-old son, 2-year-old daughter and myself, looking down on the newly dug grave of a limp, lifeless lamb.

"It's a chickie...feel how soft!"
"Sweethearts, this is something to remember the rest of your lives...what death is like. It looks like this and there's nothing we can do to change it. Anyone can take a life. No one can give it. Except God. Only God can make things alive. So never, ever kill something you don't need to. Killing is easy. Giving life is impossible. You can't bring it back. You can't change it. You can't fix it."

That was one of our first graveside services on the farm--puppies, cats, sheep, cows, rabbits. It happened over and over. We loved animals, cared for them, stayed up at night, worked around the clock. Sometimes they lived, sometimes they died. Always, we cared, striving to be responsible, to treasure life regardless of its "value," expected outcome or the length of breath: kittens, birds, bunnies. And in my mind were pictures of my own father sitting at the kitchen table, eye-dropper in one hand, hairless baby raccoon in the other. The belief and act isn't simply pro-people--although we realize biblically, that's the priority--the belief and act are pro-life. Because life is a gift.

And as I see the weight of choosing life, the burden is heavy. It's not simply pro-birth. It's pro-adoption, pro-marriage, pro-foster care, pro-life. Because anyone can kill something. Anyone take a life. But only God can give it. Grace and peace to those of you who have made the choice to take a human life and lived to regret it. May you seek the answer of Christ. In Him is hope...and forgiveness. May God grant a heart of repentance to those who made that choice and have no regrets. For in the end, life was never really ours. It is a gift.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Cor. 5:17-21)

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

"Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

"He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31-46)

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