Monday, February 06, 2012

Made To Love (Casey Lankford)

My devotional tonight was penned by one of my fellow teachers and coaches at WCS, Casey Lankford. Casey is in his first year teaching and coaching at Westbury Christian School but I've known him since he was barely in high school through mission trips to Honduras. Casey has a wonderful insight this evening into self examination.

This morning I was sitting on my plane ready to head out to Oklahoma City for a weekend with my long lost college friends and to finish planning a few things for the spring break mission trip that I am planning for our high school next month. To be totally honest, I have been really proud of myself in putting all of this together. I have already made some mistakes but this is the first time that anyone has ever tried to do something like this at Westbury Christian. It is something that I most definitely believe in and has a lot of potential.
            The problem is that I have been proud of myself for this. Period. I have been proud of the way so many of my students have taken to my teaching in Bible class. Even though my coaching record might not show it, I am proud of the way coaching basketball has worked out this year and I have high expectations for next year’s team.
            You see, I am proud of these things. I am proud of myself for the works that I have done and put together. I have always thought that it was bad to be prideful in myself and high on myself and the things that I do, but a little bit of pride was ok. It was ok because of the confidence that it would give to continue doing what I do and doing them in the way in which I do them. I am starting to think that this is still wrong.
            You see, I am sitting in my seat on the plane watching others get on. As some of you probably know, this is a great time to people watch. I like to look at each person coming on and analyze him/her. I’ll try to guess personality and family life and occupation. I have come up with some pretty weird things in my head about who people are or what they’re like. My world was shattered during this particular people-watching session. I took a second to look down and change the song on my ipod and when I look up, on to the plane walked a young, beautiful little girl. This girl was probably about 8 years old or so and was with her mother. She had her backpack strapped on tightly to her back and was wearing a purple jacket to match her purple bucket hat. This little girl was different though. She was different because she was completely bald headed. This precious child had clear signs of leukemia.
            There is no doubt that anyone can sympathize for this little girl, for her mother, and anyone else who is close to her. However, her condition is not what totally blew me away. What really caught my attention was this girl’s smile. She had extremely pale skin but it was hard to tell because it was the brightest smile that I think I have ever seen. I could not help but envision some of the things that she has been through physically mentally and emotionally that some people will never have to go through in their entire lives. She is dealing with these problems and I doubt that she has lived a decade. She passed by every seat on the plane flashing a huge smile. Her smile actually brighter than that of  the stewardess who welcomed her on to the plane which I had previously thought was impossible to do.
            I wondered how someone who had suffered so much could be so incredibly happy. I wondered how I could be so self-indulgent to think that what I was doing was enough, that what I was doing was what I could just hang my hat on and call myself a good and faithful servant. I am not trying to say that what I do is bad or not done in an effort to further God’s Kingdom, but I am saying that it isn’t all I can do.
            Perhaps God was speaking to me after the girl took her seat which was out of my sight because at that moment, my ipod started playing the song “Made to Love” by Toby Mac. The chorus is as follows:
 “I was made to love you. I was made to find you. I was made just for you, made to adore you. I was made to love and be loved by you. You were here before me. You were waiting on me and you said you’d keep me. Never would you leave me. I was made to love and be loved by you.”
            I immediately thought of probably 10 different ways to love that little girl and to show God to her and her mother. I wanted to fight leukemia with her. I wanted to take on and share in her suffering. I wanted to love her and make her see how I had directly seen God through her. I wanted to show her how we were both made to love.
            I am currently reading a rather popular Christian book called “Forgotten God” by Francis Chan. Something that he has talked about is being led BY the Holy Spirit and not leading the Spirit ourselves. So many times we say that we are in a certain place because “God called us here” and if that truly is the case then I applaud you for your willingness and obedience. However I cannot help but question if God calling you to here or there also involved you getting to add an extra zero or 2 to each paycheck, living in a safe environment with good schools. Perhaps God is blessing you by calling you to that place with these riches, but what is your true desire? The blessings or serving God?
            When I think that I was made by a loving God in order to love him first and then others, I automatically look at all that I am doing: my routine, my actions, my whole life and ask the question: Am I simply obeying or am I loving? Do I have the inner desire in me to love everyone I come in contact with like I did with this beautiful little girl?
            My simple prayer is that God helps me to love. I want Him to help me love Him more than I already do and to love others more as well. I pray that it will no longer take a beautiful little child to awaken my eyes from the slumber and grog of insolence and judgment. I pray that I can only see people through the eyes of the one who created them. I pray that God helps me to keep from looking at not only the negative things I do but also the positive so that I can only look forward and strive for the prize ahead. I pray the same for you as well.
Casey Lankford

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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