Truth be told, there's a whole list of potential topics for this blog sitting in front of me this morning. And I'm struggling to write about any of them at the present moment. Because...my heart aches.
We're just not getting it right.
I don't know what we're supposed to do about love. We've got it so twisted in our heads, in our families, in our communities. It's so broken in our world. We've all trying to get this world to give us what we need, and it can't. This world is finite. The more you take from it, the less there is for someone else. So we're all just taking, taking, taking from one another. If I want this world to celebrate me, it has to turn its back on you. If I want this world to cater to me, you're stuck with leftovers.
I think about what Jesus told His disciples. If you want to be first, you have to be last. If you want to be the greatest, you have to be the least. And in Luke 22, He says something even more interesting - that it's up to us to make others the greatest.
It's not just about making ourselves least; it's about esteeming others, inspiring others, building them up to be the greatest. And not just the greatest them that they can be, but the actual greatest - the best there is to offer in the world.
We're not doing this. We suck at doing this.
It's why our world is in the state it is in. We've created this entity called "the world" and we're all using it to try to make ourselves greater, even the greatest, because no one else is doing that for us. No one else is celebrating me, so I need the world to celebrate me. No one else is validating me, so I need the world to validate me. No one else is inspiring me to be more, so I need this world to convince me it's possible.
No one is holding the door open for me, so I need "the world" to open its doors to me.
That's the way we're thinking now. It's heart-breaking. This world? This world isn't anything. "The world" isn't anything at all. You can't get this world to celebrate you, no matter how hard you try. Maybe you're today's headline, but you're tomorrow's puppy training paper. You can't get this world to validate you. It's empty. It's meaningless. Think about all the trophies "this world" has given you over the years. As you age, do they matter? Are you holding onto that 1991 Little League Class Champions plaque as your defining characteristic? Or as anything at all? Can this world say anything meaningful about you? Can it?
Of course not. And what makes it so meaningless is that there's no relationship here. This world...this world is a tool that you're using and you know in your heart that when this world celebrates you, it's you celebrating you. When this world validates you, it's mere self-talk. When this world inspires you to be more, it's really just your own hope echoing through this hollow place in your soul.
And as much as you think you're using this world, there comes a point when you understand this world...is just using you. It's using you for its chaos. It's using you for its own ego. It doesn't care about you.
That's why what Jesus says is so crucial. You need an actual person to build you up. You need someone who knows you to celebrate you. That puts some skin on it, and it's real. You need someone who knows you to validate you. Then you know it's truth and not all smoke and mirrors. You need someone who knows you to inspire you. They're looking right at you; of course they know what you're capable of.
We need to be the kind of people who do this for one another. We have to put some skin in this world and start acting like we live here. Together. We have to get to know one another, to look each other in the eye. We have to celebrate each other, rejoice in all the beautiful and good things that God has created in us. We have to validate each other, speak truth into each other's lives. We have to encourage and inspire one another. We have to start making each other not just better, but greater.
We have to.
Love somebody today. Really, truly love them. Love them enough to make them greater.