No Greater Love

“A life not lived for others is not a life.” ― Mother Teresa

Jenni Lake of Pocatello, Idaho, was only 16 when she was told that she had a 30% chance of surviving brain cancer. “Her father said: ‘She didn’t break down and cry or anything.’

“Her mother said: ‘When they told her that she might not be able to have kids, she got upset.’”

After aggressive chemo treatments, the tumors had begun to shrink.

Jessie Bonner of the Associated Press wrote in an article: “She had learned that she was pregnant … Jenni’s journey was no longer her own.”

A little more than one year after her diagnosis, Jenni, 5 feet and 4 inches tall and weighing only 108 pounds, was at full term in her pregnancy. On November 9, 2011, her son, Chad Michael Lake, was born. Jennie died 12 days later.*

She sacrificed her life for her little son. I was especially taken by the reporter’s words, “Jenni’s journey was no longer her own.”

Is the life you live ever, really, all your own?

*(From “Mother of the year” by Don Surber, December 28, 2011, quoting an AP article by Jessie Bonner.)

Life is filled with personal choices but the choices you make will always affect someone else. The best thing you can do with your life is to invest it in someone else. As in economics, gardening, or any other effort, without investment, without the planting of seeds, there is no return.

God has told you very clearly in His Word that you are to do two things with your life: love Him totally and then love others as yourself. That love He requires is accomplished through relationship with God and people. In fact, love IS relationship.

Samuel said this to the people,

… do not turn aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart. You must not turn aside, for then you would go after futile things which can not profit or deliver, because they are futile. For the LORD will not abandon His people on account of His great name, because the LORD has been pleased to make you a people for Himself. (1 Samuel 12.20-22)

In other words, Samuel was saying, “keep following the Lord with all of your being. Don’t look to the left or to the right, don’t stray from Him, keep your eyes fixed on Him, because, the moment you stray, then you will automatically be following things that are pointless, fruitless, and useless. By going in any other direction you will not gain anything and what you are seeking outside His will cannot possibly give you anything of any value.”

The Lord always gives you more than mere instructions for the journey. He always says, “this is the way to go, and, by the way, I’m going with you.” The journey is not your own.

In 1 Samuel 12.22, the promise is clear: the Lord will not abandon you because He will glorify His wonderful name and, “the LORD has been pleased to make you a people for Himself.” You belong to Him and He loves you. He wants you to love others as well.

Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15.13). Jenni lived out those words in the beautiful example she gave us.

We can do no less.

In a few days you will be entering what could be one of the most exciting and spiritually productive years of your life. You will be entering a year that the Lord has planned from the beginning of time, a year prepared for you to live and enjoy with Him.

Give the year back to Him. Remember, the journey is not your own. It’s a journey with your Savior and Lord, your God and King, your Redeemer, your Healer, your Sustainer, your Friend: Jesus Christ!

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