You likely heard this story over the last couple of weeks. Charles and Sara Rippey recently celebrated their seventy-fifth wedding anniversary. Charles was one hundred years old and in surprisingly good health; Sara was ninety-eight but had recently suffered a stroke. They lived together in their home in Napa, California. Last week they died together as a fire ravaged their community. His body was found near hers. It was obvious that he was struggling to get to her before they were overcome by smoke.
Pastor Jim Denison comments, “The Rippeys story made headlines because their lifelong commitment to each other strikes a chord in our souls. We sense somehow that what they had is what we all want. We know that there is more to life than what a fire can consume. God created us for love and relationship!
Richard Simmons lll is founder and executive director of The Center for Executive Leadership. In his book, The True Measure of a Man, he notes that we have shifted from a production economy to a consumer economy. As a result, we measure ourselves not by what we do but by what we own. Our work is a means to our wealth; people would rather be envied for their material success than respected for their character.
Marucs Aurelius noted that “the true worth of a man is to be measured by the objects he pursues.” What “objects” should we purse? Men of INTENTION will recall Paul’s answer: “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8). Paul the Pharisee knew about God. Paul the Jesus-Follower knew God.
How intimately do you know God today? That is THE question!
Pastor Jim Denison further comments, “According to Jesus, there are only two priorities that matter: loving God and loving others (Matthew 22:37, 39). When we understand how deeply and passionately we are loved by our Father, we are freed from the need to justify our lives and impress our culture. we are freed to love the One who loves us and to love everyone He loves. And we find a life purpose no fire can destroy.”
That’s good isn’t it!