Thursday, November 3, 2016

Hip Toss

(John 3:19-21)


Hip Toss
“I was sick and you cared for Me…visited Me…tended to My needs.”

Matthew 25:31-46

People are always asking, “How are we supposed to love God?”

We answer that question on the corner of Lincoln and Main in Belvidere, Illinois every Sunday with an exclamation point at the end of every worship service: “Love God and be kind to one another!”

“Love God and be kind to one another” summarizes our Lord’s great commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind…and love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.”  Essentially, He said loving neighbors is the best way to love God.  Loving neighbors is the same thing as loving God.  If we love God, we love our neighbors.  When we love our neighbors, we are proving we love God.  Simply, love God and be kind to one another; or love God by being kind to one another.

That’s how we’re supposed to love God.

Generally, Jesus outlined the behavior: “Love each other just as much as I love you.”

That means we extend charity, mercy, grace, and forgiveness to everybody around us commensurate to the charity, mercy, grace, and forgiveness extended to us by Jesus.

In short, we love Jesus by loving like Jesus; noting the word used by Him is agape love which means to pray and labor for the highest good of everybody around us regardless of who, what, where, when, or why without the need or expectation for response, regard, or reward.

Specifically, Jesus said loving Him by loving like Him includes coming to the aid of anyone in need; and He emphasized that when we come to their aid, we’re coming to His aid: “When you do it for them, you’re doing it for Me; and when you’re not doing it for them, you’re not doing it for Me.”

That’s how we’re supposed to love God.

Recently, a codicil that caught my attention is Matthew 25:36: “I was sick and you cared for Me…visited Me…tended to My needs.”

I had hip surgery on October 18, 2016.
I’m not supposed to have hip surgery!

I’m supposed to visit people who have hip surgery!

Anyway, risking charges of narcissism that are always leveled against anyone with the tempered temerity to risk personal illustrations for corporate benefits as opposed to saying nothing eloquently and rarely relevantly, I developed new empathy for patients who have always had my sympathy.

Simply, as the first President Clinton liked to say, more than ever before, I feel their pain.

Like all Christians who don’t fear death because we know our souls never die by grace through faith in Jesus and paradise is a lot better than what’s gone wrong around the globe, I never feared death as the IV to put me under was being pushed into my arm – Felt like a #2 pencil! – but I dreaded the work that would pile up while recuperating.

I didn’t even want/need to pray with the doctor before he started carving up my body; remembering Dr. Bob the oral surgeon – We called him Oral Robert! – who asked if I wanted him to pray before he started to which I retorted, “Listen, if you have to pray about pulling out a few wisdom teeth, I’m out of here!”

I didn’t stay over in the hospital.

Full hip replacement surgery as an out-patient!


I guess.

Moretheless, I did think of things that I’ve learned over the years about visiting folks who are laid up at home or hospital as a way of loving Jesus by loving them.

It’s not about you the visitor!

It’s about the person who’s been sick!

It doesn’t matter how you feel about the room temperature or lighting or prognosis (Don’t ask because it’s really none of your business unless the patient offers the information!).

The patient needs rest; so don’t linger around if you see the person is trying to nod off! 

The length and agenda of your visit is not for you to determine!

Again and again and again, it’s not about you!

And you don’t know how she/he feels unless you’ve been there and done that!

Never forget that while the miracles of modern medicine are complemented by well-meaning and highly-trained hospital administrators, doctors, nurses, technicians, therapists, aides, and volunteers, nobody prefers to be pent up in a nursing home or hospital waiting for test results, bed pans, sitz baths, snoring roommates, commotion in the halls at all hours, unfamiliar food, needles, tubes, strangers coming and going and invading personal space at all hours, and everything else related to being down and out.

            Maybe the best way to handle hospital and nursing home visits is to follow a rule from Jesus that we’ve come to call golden: “Do to/for others as you would like them to do to/for you.”

            How would we like people to visit us when we’re sick?

            That’s how we should visit the sick!

            I’ll never forget hearing about the child who said, “I like Jesus because He’s God with skin on.”
            Let’s just sum up all of the above with th

            When we visit the sick, we become enfleshments of His love; especially if we love others just as much as He has loved us.

            Mother Teresa put our privilege to love God by being kind to one another like this, “Let us remember that Jesus has said: ‘Whatever you do to the least of my brothers, you do it to Me.’ Just think – that little smile that you give to a lonely person, that hand you give to a blind person to cross the road, that little bit of food you sacrifice for someone who is hungry, you do it for Him.”

            Repeating, people who really love Jesus ask, “How are we supposed to love God?”

Let’s just sum up all of the above with the one word used to sum up God to sum up how we’re supposed to love God.


            We love God by loving like God as best exemplified in Jesus by the book.

Blessings and Love!



Salt! Shine! Leavenate!
Look up! Stand up! Speak up! Act up for Jesus!




Walton said...

Welcome back to 221 Main. I pray you are pain free and doing great. You were missed. The ones that took your place did a good job. We have very good people in our Church that really help in time of need. God Bless see you Sunday.

Pat williams said...

You are amazing...out patient with hip surgery. I am impressed. How long did it take you to get back on your feet? All therapy at home? Wish I had known but I will pray for continued healing. May God bless you...Pat Williams from Henry.

Dr. Robert R. Kopp said...

Still rehabbing, dear friend!