LOVING GOD, LOVING RELATIONSHIPS
Glynn Wolfe died alone in Los Angeles at the age of 88. No one came to claim his body; the city paid to have him buried in an unmarked grave. This is sad, but not unusual. It happens all too often in large cities where people tend to live disenfranchised lives.
Glynn's situation was unique, though, because he was no ordinary man. He held a world record. The Guinness Book listed him as the Most Married Man, with 29 marriages to his credit. This means 29 times he was asked, "Do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife...forsaking all others do you pledge yourself only to her, so long as you both shall live?" 29 times Glynn Wolf said, "I Do," but it never quite worked out that way.
He died leaving behind children, grand-children, great grand-children, a number of living ex-wives, and innumerable ex-in-laws—and still, he died alone. He spent his entire adult life looking for something he apparently never found—and he died alone.
Glynn Wolf is an extreme example of how people spend their lives drifting in and out of marriages, in and out of relationships, only to find themselves isolated and alone. Even worse, there are others who spend their lives married to the same person and still end up feeling isolated and alone.
The fact is, if we look for ultimate fulfillment in marriage, or romance, or friendship, or family, we will never be satisfied. As important as these relationships are, they cannot take the place of the Ultimate Relationship for which we have been created.
Our primary purpose is to love God. When we allow secondary relationships to take God's rightful place in our lives, we become dissatisfied and frustrated. The result is, like Glynn Wolf, we end up isolated and alone.
When Jesus was asked what is the greatest commandment of all, he responded by saying...
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." (Mark 12:30)
Part two of this commandment is to "love your neighbor as yourself." Our success in loving others is dependent upon our willingness to love God above all else, with all that we have. February is the month we celebrate love but what we sometimes forget is that our ability to love others starts with and is dependent upon our love of God. It is only as we experience God's love and return that love that we are able to learn to love those around us unconditionally and make the love relationships of our lives last a lifetime.
Way back in January I said the word for us as a church this year is: RESTORE. Relationships are so important we will spend the next two months talking about how we can restore the relationships in our lives. When we learn to love God well we also learn the secret to lasting, loving relationships with everyone else.