The Power of Love

Tim Richards   -  

The Power of Love

First-lady Roselynn Carter passed away on November 19, 2023. Her death and thinking about her family’s contributions to our country prompted me to think of their legacy. Whether or not you agree with her husband’s politics, the Carters lived honorable lives and set an amazing example by their unselfish service. When I write about any elected official I always point out I am trying not to be political but simply sharing something which I believe can inspire each of us, regardless of our political affiliation.

The news of Mrs. Carter’s death made me decide to check out a book written by President Carter around his ninetieth birthday entitled, A Full Life. I found his book both fascinating and inspiring.

President Carter shared an experience he had after his unsuccessful first bid to become Georgia’s governor. He was privileged to go to Springfield, Massachusetts, to share his faith with Puerto Rican families. The future President was partnered with a Cuban American pastor, Eloy Cruz, from a small church in Brooklyn, New York. Throughout the week they served together his respect for Pastor Cruz grew and grew. Carter observed the pastor’s ability to share his faith and gently engage people in deep spiritual conversations. He wrote, “I had been a state senator, and even a candidate for governor… He (Pastor Cruz) considered himself ‘just’ a Cuban, and a refugee, but I knew the opposite; he was a great man. As we prepared to say good-bye at the end of the week I asked him what made him so gentle, but so effective as a Christian witness, and he was quite disconcerted… He noted that Christ himself, although the Son of God, was always gentle with those who were poor or weak. He went on to say that he always tried to follow a simple rule: ‘You only have to have two loves in your life: for God, and for the person in front of you at any given time.’”

Carter never forgot Pastor Cruz’s words and used them as a model for how he treated those who had little. Both the pastor and President Carter were following what Jesus identified as the greatest command.

In scripture a religious expert once asked Jesus, “‘Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?’ Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: “Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 26:36-39, NLT)

Loving God, serving him, loving others, and serving them has the power to change both us and others. Whether we are an unknown pastor to refugees or are an ex-President of the United States, God can use our love and service to glorify himself and to bless others.

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