This coming Sunday is “Pro-life” Sunday at my Fieldwork church in St. Louis. My fieldwork pastor recently asked me to prepare a short devotional to give on Pro-life Sunday on the question, “How would the world be different without me?” I thought I would share what I wrote:
When this question was first given to me for pondering, I didn’t even know where to start. “This is a tough question to answer,” I thought to myself. So I decided to call my mother to see what this world would be like for her if I wasn’t in it. I thought of all people, she would know. Her initial response was, “Wow….I really don’t know. If you weren’t here, I don’t know what I’d do. I miss you enough as it is when you’re away in St. Louis. That is tough.” At first I thought her answer was a bit unexpected, where was the “Without you this would never have happened?” Or the “I never would have made it through that trial if you weren’t here?” You know, the Bette Midler Wind beneath my wing speech? Where was it? This caused me to wonder about my life, had I ever done anything for my family or friends that was extraordinary? I couldn’t recollect any dramatic moments where I swooped in on my “white” horse and rescued anyone from impending doom, and I don’t remember any real humanitarian efforts. This question had become all too hard for me, it forced me to ask that tough question, “Who am I?” As far as I was concerned, at that moment I was a nobody. But then something dawned on me, I meant more to my mom than actions or deeds. I am her child, the object of her love and affection. The one she raised, the one she played games with, the one she dressed up in cute Halloween costumes, the one who always made sure Christmas’ were special for me, and the one she loved no matter what. She had an unconditional love for me that would never stop. There’s nothing I can do that would make my mom think more of me. She loves me because she and my father decided to love and give of themselves. Who am I? I’m somebody’s son, I am loved. I’m special because my family thinks I’m special, because I’m a part of them, I was brought forth from their love.
In many ways, that’s how it is for all of us as Christians. We can get so worked up in trying to please a God who already loves us with a love that gave up everything; trying to prove our love with actions or deeds to a God who loves us for the sake of His son Jesus. We are the object of His affection. He didn’t want to be without us, so He brought us into His family through His son. Who are we? We are His children. We are special and unique; we mean so much to our Heavenly Father that he thought His son’s life was worth it to save us. So if that question “How would this world be different without me” stumps you. Maybe you should ask yourself a different question, “How would this world be without Jesus?” How could we ever get on with our lives if we were always as St. Paul said, “Being busy hating others and being hated, with doom hanging over our shoulders?” Remember then, our Savior who in great kindness, tenderness, and mercy came forth and saved us from our wretched state so that we would be free to love our neighbors as His children, free as his children to exclaim, “I don’t want to live in a world without my neighbor!” That is what being pro-life is all about!