He Lived Well and Loved Hard

We were back in Houston for the funeral of a long-time friend named Mike. The service was honoring, both to the Lord and to the one He had called home. One sentence, spoken by Mike’s grandson, remains with me:

He lived well and loved hard.

I had to ask myself, am I doing that? What does it look like? How would our Lord have us live well and love hard? An hour before the funeral, driving around our old neighborhood, we’d stopped for a taco at a simple Mexican restaurant where one wall was full of those popular wooden signs that say so much in so few words. One said this:

  • Love spoken here.
  • Joy chosen here.
  • Grace given here.

That, my friends, is in great part how we live well and love hard.

We speak love—to our Lord, to those around us, and to ourselves, sometimes with words, but more often with actions. The Bible is full of reasons to love, ways to love, and commands to love. It requires humility, selflessness, and a willingness to do whatever we feel God is calling us to do. When we ask him to help us love, he will provide creative answers and the wherewithal to follow through on his directions.

We choose joy—no matter what. Joy doesn’t always happen to us, or envelop us, or even well up within us. Most of the time we have to choose it, to wake up in the morning and say, “God made this day, and I will rejoice in it. I will make a conscious effort to see his presence in every moment.” This habit heightens the niceties of life and gives perspective to the uglier side of living on a fallen planet.

We give grace—both deserved and undeserved. Spilled milk? An angry look? A hurtful comment? A selfish choice? God said, “Love one another as I have loved you.” He didn’t say, “Love people when they behave.” And so, we give grace, even when the only reason we can think of to do so is in remembrance of the grace that God has given us.

As you go about your day today—and every day hereafter—I hope you will speak love, choose joy, and give grace. And then, maybe one day, someone will say that you lived well and loved hard!

photo: @peterbucks via Unsplash.com