Death's Lessening Effect

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever." Revelation 21:4 NLT

John Donne said, "Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind." And Larry's did me.

Larry and I became good friends after I began pastoring a church in the same town he was. Though we belonged to different denominations, our slight differences didn't interfere with our budding friendships. We worked together in community events and multi church gatherings. After two years, I moved away. Shortly afterwards, I received a disturbing call from Larry. He had passed out while bending over and was transported to the hospital for tests. The results were life transforming. He had an inoperable brain tumor. He agreed to take treatments, but the doctors weren't hopeful. On a trip to the area to visit a relative, we stopped by the nursing home where Larry had been placed. He looked old and different. We had a good talk, and I prayed for him. I imagined it would be the last time I'd see him…and it was. Larry's death diminished me.

Thankfully, God has prepared a place for his children where death isn't. Neither will there be sorrow, pain, grief, or any other of those unpleasant things I disdain. But until then, I must live knowing my family and friends will die-myself included.

Though humanity has various genealogical lines, we share a common ancestry. If we trace our roots back far enough, we discover the first couple-Adam and Eve. All humanity runs through my blood line whether I consider them my relatives or not. Paul said the entire law of God could be summed up in one directive: love others. Jesus said it was the second greatest commandment. Recognizing everyone is important to God should make them equally considered by me. We are all God's creations and worthy of showing respect to-a respect that should increase even more toward those who are in the same spiritual family. Death diminishes, but love builds up.

Try loving others the way God loves you.

Prayer: Father, may the lives of others be as important to us as they are to You.

Martin Wiles
Hodges, South Carolina, USA

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