Above the doorway in our home is a sign that greets everyone who enters our humble abode. It is a sign that is composed of three words, and those three words have formed a philosophy of life that we have chosen to live by. It is a sign that I try to live every day of my life by.
Those three words are simple: LIVE. LAUGH. LOVE.
In this day when COVID-19, racial division and presidential politics all together are taking the world by storm, those three words seem to give a sense of sanity to an otherwise crazy situation. I’d like to take a bit of time to put these three words into perspective for us, or at least to help frame an outlook which hopefully will help!
First of all, LIVE! I was talking to a person just the other day who was lamenting the fact that our world seems to be “going to hell in a hatbox” (That’s a direct quotation!) And that individual concluded that perhaps the best solution was to just hole up somewhere, curl into a neo-natal ball… and die!
The Bible seems to take a different approach. Romans 8 demonstrates that no matter what our life situation is, if we trust in Christ, we will overwhelmingly conquer. As Christ-followers in the real world, we are on the winning side! There is nothing that can separate us from the love of Christ! (Check out Romans 8:31-39 for the specifics there). And that is LIVING in the best sense of the word!
Second, we should LAUGH.
In checking with people who know the ins and outs of physiognomy, I understand that it takes far fewer muscles to form a smile than it does to frown. So why don’t we smile more? Why don’t we figure out ways to enjoy our days more?
Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying we should ignore the pain and the doctor’s reports and do nothing about those. But I am saying we should take a more positive outlook on life and all that we have to look forward to.
Just the other day, I was talking about this with a friend of mine and he was telling me that some years ago, he had experienced a seizure of sorts, which resulted in paralysis on his right side and loss of his speech capabilities.
He was a pastor and for the next months, he was unable to function at what he loved best, preaching the Word of God. But he spoke of how much that paralysis had connected him with people he would never have had the opportunity to meet, let alone share his story with, and would not have had the chance to talk with them about Christ and His love for each of us, and how He so desperately desires a relationship with each one of us.
He had several humorous stories of incidents which occurred in the course of his treatment where God opened the door for him to laugh with his attendants, and they had the opportunity to see what strength the joy of the Lord could give in times of trial (See Nehemiah 8:10). One of my heartfelt desires is to LAUGH more each and every day!
The third word is LOVE. Now you may think this is an erotic word, but the real sense of LOVE is to have in mind the best interests of the one who is loved.
When I say to my bride, “I love you!”, I mean that I will do whatever is in the best interests of her, whatever will benefit her the most. That’s exactly what the Bible means when it tells us that “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son” (John 3:16).
God had our best interests at heart when He sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. And He proved it when He raised Him from the dead!
But the outward demonstration of that word LOVE is this: It also means that I want to demonstrate that same love to others as I go about living my life in the world today.
That means I do not go about in a selfish, self-serving mode and mentality, doing things which only feed my pride and arrogance. But rather, I seek to serve and to save those who are lost.
The challenge I have is to live every day to be just like Jesus Christ. I can do that if I live my day in the power of the Spirit of God whom God has sent to empower me and equip me and enable me to do just that.
One practical outworking of the LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE philosophy of living is that I should not worry. Instead, I should “Cast all [my] cares on Him, for He cares for [me].” (My paraphrase of 1 Peter 5:7). That means, for you and for me, that we should not be worrying about anything, but especially things such as coronavirus, racial tensions, or even the presidential election.
Instead, every time you find yourself in a turmoil over any of these things (or anything else for that matter!), you should, like a fisherman casting his line out into the deep, throw that burden upon the Lord. He is big enough to take care of all of these, and many more!
Oh, and one more thing: When you cast that line out into the deep and put the burden you are worrying about on the shoulders of the Lord, do yourself a tremendous favor: CUT THE STUPID STRING! God is big enough to take your burdens upon himself, and you do not need to continue to reel them back in and take them up again.
This week, let’s LIVE, LAUGH, and LOVE as we go through each moment of every day!
God bless …
Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for the News Journal and a former pastor in the area. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.