MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
"Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come that he should depart from this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end." (John 13:1, NKJV).
Jesus finished well because he loved well to the end. Instead of demanding to be loved at his time of death, he loved. In place of looking to the disciples to wash his feet, he lovingly washed their feet. In contrast to fighting the one who would betray him, he loved him. he could have condoned Peter’s violent reaction at his arrest, but he condemned it by lovingly healing the servant’s severed ear. Jesus ended how he began: unselfishly, loving unconditionally.
Indeed, we finish well when we love well to the end. In the beginning of our walk with Christ we loved with our limited understanding of God and His love. Out of our joy filled salvation flows forth a gratitude that grows in grace and urges others to know the Lord’s amazing love. Like hot lava streaming from an active volcano, our heart of love erupted with eternal effectiveness. But life has a way of cooling our compassion and we become lukewarm in our love. Only by faith in the one who loves us to the uttermost can we keep the intensity of our love. Love finishes well.
"I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either
one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm — neither hot nor cold — I am about to spit you out of my mouth." (Revelation 3:15-16, NIV).
Where do we have opportunities to finish well, by loving well? It may be our last year of active duty or our final year to complete our college degree. We have influence we only dreamed of at the beginning of our journeys, so we use it to love the unlovely. Our season of service in our current job may be winding down, so we reflect our attention back on loving those left behind. Our time with a child is closing out, so we use this window of influence to love them intentionally. Our health may have slowed us down, but our soul has sped up in anticipation of opportunities to love more. We finish well when we love well.
Therefore, as we grow to know Christ’s love, our capacity to love well grows. As we approach different finish lines in life and ultimately death, we should leverage these transitions to love well. People may approach us to be a blessing (in so blessing us), but they walk away being loved to the uttermost. The secret to loving well is releasing the Lord’s love we have already received. Finish well by doing vital things from a heart of love so another’s heart will be drawn to God.
"The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with loving kindness I have drawn you." (Jeremiah 31:3, NKJV).