Love Gives the Best

“Anyone can give without loving, but no one can love without giving.”  Dr. James G. Harris.  My model and mentor for being a pastor was Dr. Harris, Senior Minister of the University Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas. I was a member of his church, taught a 5th Grade Boys Sunday School class and sang in the choir. Dr. Harris counseled Dorothy and I as we prepared to marry. Together Dorothy and I taught the Junior High Youth Class on Sunday evenings and helped in the young adult department. Dr. Harris led my ordination council and sent us forth to Tulsa in 1973. 

The story is told about an elementary school holiday program called Christmas Love. If you have ever been to one you understand the excited nervousness of the children, and the audience. The program was proceeding pretty well until the final song. This was the time a row of young children stood in front of the rest of the group holding big posters while awaiting their turn to reveal each card. One youngster was enjoying herself, bouncing along to the music, when she realized everyone was watching her and giggling. She dropped her card and they laughed. She picked it up and danced even harder, dropping her card again. Suddenly it was time for the children to turn their cards around.  At the director’s signal, the children turned their card over to spell the title of the program, only her card, the M, was upside down. Some laughed but then came the applause. The children had spelled CHRIST WAS LOVE.

As messed up, off the mark and downright mean as our world has gotten, Christmas continues to remind us that no one can love without giving—even God. “God so loved the world,” the familiar verse says, “that He gave His only Son that we might have eternal life.” Dr. Harris gave his all to God and the church. He died on a beautiful early Sunday morning in January 1975, as he jogged around the high school track, preparing his mind, body, and soul to preach of God’s love gift that day. His memorial service became a true spiritual and church-wide homecoming as hundreds of us returned to say thank you to God for giving us the gift of James Gordon Harris.

Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Love gives the best. And let’s experience the love and power of God together. 

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