Keep Me Tender

bb7Every time my Dad got up to preach he would pray, “…and Lord, please give me a clear mind and a warm heart with which to teach your Word. But if I ever had to choose between the two, Lord, I’d rather have a warm heart…”  I was always touched by that but as I got older I used to be a little afraid that God might take him up on that proposition and although he did repeat himself a lot in later years (jokes, that is – which we appropriately teased him about), and was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s when he was well into his 80’s, he never got confused about God’s Word and he always presented it with clarity and a warm, tender heart – 53 years in full time ministry, and many more after that, mentoring pastors and churches wherever God placed him.

Listening to Elvis on the radio one day (you’ll never guess which song), I began thinking about how much his music has influenced our society and our ideas about love. Judging by Hollywood’s perception of love, it really is “all about me” – love me tender, love me true – That philosophy has crept into our churches, too.  Love me, please me, help me – let’s just  be all about me and we’ll all get along!

We have no understanding of, and no tolerance for, the depth and sacrifice of genuine love.  But it is the only way we can ever touch the lives of others – by extending to them the selfless, unconditional love that only he can give.

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