How do you treat others when you find out it's their birthday? Do you give them a big hug? Do you playfully sing an old round of Happy Birthday to You? Do you treat them to a meal, wish them nothing but happiness in the coming year, post accolades on their Facebook and Twitter pages for all the world to see? Do you throw a party, give a gift, or perhaps offer a card, some balloons, or a yummy cake? Do you reminisce about the day they were born, or think fondly about the story outlining your first encounter together? All this depends on the person, right? All this depends on the level of closeness we feel and/or the social etiquette surrounding our relationship with said birthday recipient.
At the very minimum, I think in general, we might all agree that when most of us find out that it is someone's birthday, we usually take a minute to graciously extend a celebratory acknowledgment favoring their existence on this earth, right?
I was thinking about this as Chuck (my husband) and I will spend this week celebrating his 47th birthday. I was thinking about the preferential treatment I will extend to him in order to insure my sweetie feels especially honored, especially loved, and especially important to me. You see, yesterday was his birthday and it was easy to celebrate "The Hubs!" It felt right to watch everyone dote over him and love on him. For birthdays are special, right?
For the mere sake that he was born to this earth, yesterday Chuck found himself enjoying several free drinks and desserts. He received a barrage of voice mails, emails, text messages, and personal hugs from family, friends, acquaintances, and even business associates - all honoring his life, if only for a short moment in conversation. All pausing to share their affection, admiration, and respect to this one human. Yes, yesterday there were many best wishes, many cards, many graces, many outward expressions of love offered to my husband... and he purred through every minute of it. By the end of the day, my husband fell asleep feeling FULL - full from the love he witnessed... full from the warmth he experienced... full from the attention and care he received. Yes, yesterday Chuck was full from a very nice birthday. (Thank you, all!)
But today is a new day. Today, Chuck will not likely receive the same amount of attention or public benevolence as he did yesterday. For in normal, everyday life (the life outside "birthday life"), most of us don't care to use our time, money, or resources revering anyone other than our own selves! Most of us don't purposefully deliberate over the value or importance of every person's existence, do we? No, that kind of attention is reserved for birthdays alone. It can only last for a minute or two, and then who cares about that guy driving next to us, or the teenager behind the cash register? Who cares about the woman sitting alone in church, or the man drinking heavily in the bar? Who cares about the child orphaned, the widow forgotten, the poor, the needy, the lost, the broken.
No, as a people, we are much too busy with our own prideful affairs to spend our blessings "filling up" others, right? Those are "OUR" blessings, after all! So, as days dwindle into weeks, it is likely that the care we might extend from one birthday to the next will not purposefully resurface until the next socially expected occasion.
What a tragic shame.
For we all have been given the capacity by God to FULLY LOVE every person we encounter EVERY day - not just on birthdays. We all have been provided exactly what we need to ALWAYS offer His holy benevolence and redemptive aid.
But do we?
Really, do we?
Furthermore, it is so easy to celebrate Jesus on His own birthday, or a formal holiday that acknowledges His history here on earth. But are we so selfish that we fail to revere Him in the moments between these publicized occasions? Ladies, as Christians, our God is supposed to be the most important Person to us! But do we live each minute embracing the good news of His existence? Do we actually live out His love in both word and deed? Do we sing joyful praises to Him? Do we rejoice together as an eternal family? Do we invite others to partake of His grace and celebrate in His goodness? Do we post accolades everywhere and share His story? Do we glorify Him for all the world to see? Do we daily reminisce about the day He was born, the day He died for our sins, the day He rose again from the grave, the day He will return to reclaim His own? Do we think fondly about how He first encountered us? How He romanced us into His loving arms? How He offers Himself to us each day so that we may actually rest FULL? Or is that only reserved for quick birthday minutes? Is our affection, admiration and respect only meant to surface as a gracious fly-by-night response to God and those He places before our steps? Oh, I hope not! For that is not the message of the Gospel I read. No, we are to acknowledge how especially honored, especially loved, and especially important our God is... and we are to do so in every single second we draw His breath.
So, today I challenge you to consider a broader "birthday" initiative. What is this initiative? It is the decision to be personally responsible to celebrate and extend God's full love NOW!
Every person who is born of this earth is extremely important to our King and should be lifted up to the highest heights TODAY! As God's own, we are called to give preferential treatment to everyone we are exposed to... loving fully in Jesus Name, rather than pridefully competing in sin. You see, we were created to glorify the existence of the only One worthy of all celebration and honor. If we actually chose to acknowledge this fact with every breath, and follow Christ while also loving others His Way, every single day would be just like a glorious birthday party thrown by the richest, most generous King of kings! WOO HOO! His special life would be evident in our own lives and thus, His love would freely be given again and again and again.
All people are important to God, so they should be equally important to us!
Do we joyfully give the same warm blessings as Christ gave to the diseased, the homeless, the haughty, the hurt, the shamed, the prideful, the lost?
Oh, how many could know God's peace, love, security, and grace if we actually took a moment to joyfully acknowledge their value and worth in His eyes. At the very minimum in our Christian walk, can't we do this for Jesus, dear believer? Isn't this the most important cause worth pursuing?
So, Happy Birthday TODAY! May we each pay forward our eternal joy and celebrate Jesus' importance and existence while choosing to bless one another with all our hearts in selfless love! Hallelujah to the King! Let us praise Him with our lives and give because He gives!!
I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High. (Psalm 9:1-2)
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