You can decipher who has had the greatest impact on your life by those people who walk the pathway of your mind each day. When thoughts of their love, kindness, affection or care for you enter your heart, they being dead, yet speak (Hebrews 11:4).
There are men of the highest caliber who daily enter into my heart. As I remember their investment in me, I am thankful to God for the time they did invest and long to see them again in Heaven.
One such friend was Dr. Earl Holloway. From day one he always made me feel loved and valued. He proved his love through educating, mentoring, and caring for me. I met him when I was a young teenager, and our friendship knew no age boundaries. He was over 50 years my senior, yet our time together was sweet. I would never claim to have been his favorite, but I knew he loved me. He made everyone feel the same way. At his funeral I mingled with many whose feelings were united. Whether one was valued higher than the other was irrelevant. We were all loved and nurtured. He was all our friend.
In John chapter eleven a similar situation is described in God’s Word. Jesus was a man of relationships. He cared for all kinds of people in all kinds of ways. He was as likely to welcome children to Himself, as He was to go out of His way to nurture a woman of a checkered past and uncertain future. At the city of Bethany was a family dear to the Saviour. This family of three, Mary, Martha and Lazarus, became central to the story of Jesus.
While Jesus was away from the city, Lazarus became ill and died. When Jesus showed up at their home four days later, Lazarus’ dead body began to decay in an earthly grave. Jesus had delayed in arriving, for Christ came, not to heal a sick man, but to raise a dead man! When He entered the city limits, He was chastised by the two sisters for being late. (By the way, when you think God is late in your life, you are early! God is always on time!)
The Bible records that as Jesus approached the sepulchre of Lazarus, He wept (John 11:35). This shortest verse in the Bible is worth ten thousand more. As He wept, the Jews said, “Behold, how He loved him!”
As I reflected on this verse I realized that Jesus had the same affect on Lazarus as Earl Holloway and others have had on me. Was Lazarus the only man that Jesus loved? NO! The Bible says, “For God so loved the world” (John 3:16). Was Lazarus’ residence the only place Jesus visited? NO! Were these three individuals worth more to Christ than everyone else? NO! It is my settled conviction that Jesus had such an influence on others as to make them feel like they were the most precious person in the world to Him. The songwriter put it this way, “He loves me like I was His only child.”
In this spirit, it is Christ in others that wields the same power.
I want to live my life earning this same favor. May God’s Heaven reveal our enduring significance to many souls, making men in the here-and-now feel invaluable both to us and to God.