Think about it. A tree that grew to be very large, or at least large enough to make wooden beams, was created by God. As it grew, through its stages of sapling to tree, it was probably hardly ever noticed. There seemed to be nothing special about it. People might have sat and chatted under it. Children may have even swung on it. Birds probably perched in its branches. No, nothing special, it was just an ordinary tree. But God, the tree’s creator, had given it a very singular purpose. This was to be the tree that would bring salvation into the world. God chose this tree to let His Son die on.

Today, Good Friday, we celebrate and kiss this tree. The Christ permitted Himself to be crucified on it. He took on Himself, all of the guilt, the sins, the spit, the madness that this world created, and allowed Himself to be put to death on this tree. He was not crazy. He was not deranged. His love for mankind, for us, for you and me was such that He gave His life up so that we might see, and might understand. He came to show us what was important in this life. It was not life itself, but in what that life consisted.

He spoke to throngs of people, to individuals, to groups, to His Apostles, to anyone that wanted to learn. He told them the value of loving others. He explained why they should forgive others. He explained the importance of treating people kindly, lovingly, and fairly. “Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.” (Matt: 25, 40). By dying on the cross, Jesus shows us how deeply He loves us. He shows us to what extremes His love will go for mankind, for us, for you and me. He did THAT for you and me. Tell me, “To you, how important is the loving of others”? This is a question each of us must ask ourselves. It is from this question we can begin to see our own strengths and weaknesses.

We get so bogged down with our hurts, our feelings, our sadness, our pain, or our sickness that we prevent ourselves from seeing the same things in others. We are not alone in this world. We are not the only ones that hurt, or are sick, or have pain. We are just like everyone else that has hopes which have been crushed, who has mental anguish, who feels alone. No, we are not alone. Everyone is suffering. The world is suffering and crying.

As Jesus struggles along the way of the cross, the sorrowful way, He is still teaching us. He is still showing us to what extent that love, true love, will go. We cannot measure how much we have given. If the need of the other person is still there, then we must do whatever we can to help them. Love does not measure the extent we have gone. Love does not measure what the cost is to us. Your hurt is my hurt. Your happiness is my happiness. And so, Jesus presses on and carries the cross.

Each of us, like the tree created by God, has a purpose. Just as there was a plan for that tree, we also have a plan laid out for us by God. This plan does not involve our seeking our own happiness, at least not directly. The purpose for our existence is as unique as we are. Each of us, reading this right now, typing these key strokes right now, each of us has a purpose laid out by God. We cannot fulfill, nor find, nor understand that purpose until we completely give up our searching for our own pleasures, our own peace of mind, and our own self-interest. Did He not say, “He that shall lose his life for my sake, shall find it?” (Haydock’s Bible Commentary describes it as: “whoever makes the sacrifice of his life, or the comforts and conveniences of life for conscience sake, shall be rewarded with life eternal”.

I believe it is correct to say that: We cannot even do acts of kindness to others for the express purpose of gaining eternal life. If our sole interest is gaining eternal life then we are not doing the action of kindness for the sake of Christ, for the goodness and well-being of the other person. No, we are simply seeking eternal life as a goal for ourselves. It has nothing at all to do with our conscience. I know these lines have been very heavy, but we must totally give up our own self-interests and replace them with our love of Jesus. In seeing others, we see Jesus. And loving Him, taking care of Him, praising Him everything else will fall into place.

Earlier, I spoke of the purpose of that tree, and our purpose. We cannot sit at home, or at work, or idly muse and think about, “What is my purpose in life?” It doesn’t happen that way. A light bulb doesn’t go on and we then say, “ah hah, now I understand”. We are not suddenly enlightened as to what our purpose is. Think of your past. Think of all the events that have brought you to where you are right now, at this moment. Some of those events may have been happy, some sad, some good, some sinful. But whatever they are or were, they are NOW a part of you. They influence you in such a way, as to affect even some of the good that you now do. Good can be affected and shaped by faults from our past. Life happens. It comes at us and we react. Those reactions can be thoughtless knee-jerk reactions, or we can let our desire for good, to love Jesus affect what we choose to do

Live your life now, not with conscious decisions of: “I will help this person.” “I will shun that person.” “I will do this.” “I will not do that.” No, we cannot dictate goodness. We must try to cultivate it. We try to grow in goodness, by loving Jesus. He showed us by word, action, and example what true love is. He also showed us what love requires. If you truly don’t know what to do, then ask yourself, “What would Jesus do”? If you understand why Jesus came into this world, you then already know what you should do, how you should act, how to love.

Here are some other Posts that blend with this one. Continue the thread:

1) Who Or What Is God
2) Our Purpose In Life
3) Good Friday
4) The Flame Of Love