This is picture of Grandpa Harold and me on the Christmas before he passed in 2016. This coming weekend would be his birthday here on earth, so I wanted to take a moment and honor the man I got to call Grandpa.
My grandpa is the reason I understand that what I do today and how I love today, can change someone's tomorrow.
Grandpa Harold was a gentle, kind and singularly focused. His love for Jesus trumped everything else in his life. There was no question who held his devotion. Grandpa was compelled to speak truth. He was compelled to draw people out of the darkness and into the light of Christ. He was a self-started, a lifelong learner, and a pursuer of peace. He had a quiet confidence. When I think of all the people I have known over my life, he is one I want to be like.
He believed that every life was worth saving and every person needed to hear the good news of the gospel (whether they were interested or not!). His favorite topics to talk about: Jesus, Israel and the Navy.
Second to his love for Jesus was his love for his family. We reminisce often as a family. One our favorite sayings of Grandpa's was, "you're worth a million just to love." This message of love he held within him and spoke over us regularly was not just for us. It was a message he used to teach us the value of people and the importance of love.
He believed in and valued people. He believed in the message of the hope of the gospel that was so profound and beneficial it was worth risking it all, losing it all, sacrificing it all, because each one, in his eyes, was worth a million.
"You are worth a million just to love."
Has anyone told you that lately? You are worth and worthy of love. Just the way you are.
Grandpa's words had a familiar and reassuring sound. His words were the overflow of God's love alive in him. 1 John 4:10 says, "Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins."
Grandpa's ability to love others well and to remind them they are worth saving came from the hours upon hours of time he spent in relationship with Jesus. If Grandpa Harold were still alive today, he would still be sharing the message of the gospel, he would still be sharing the amazing gift of God's love. And he would no doubt still be sharing the message of "you are worth a million".
I am grateful I had an example of love in my grandpa who told me I am worth a million. As a kid, I would grin, blush and snuggle into his warm embrace when he spoke these words over me. I felt special around him. But as I have grown older the depth, the meaning and the impact of his statement is compounded. It seems to me that telling someone they are worthy of love is worth more than a million. It's worth everything. Helping someone believe they are worthy of love is priceless.
Grandpa Harold's legacy of love and impact on this world is exponential. I believe that every person he shared the message of the gospel with and shared love with now also can impact the next generations as well. One statement of love rippled out to millions of changed lives across the globe. One statement with lasting kingdom impact.
Maybe you find yourself today feeling unlovable. Maybe you are having a hard time loving another person in your life. Maybe you can follow in the footsteps of Grandpa Harold and share the message of love by telling someone, "you are worth a million just to love." Just think that one statement can impact millions.
I hope that you know today that God loves you. If you don't know, ask him to show you. Ask him to help you understand and to see his love for you. He will be faithful to demonstrate his love for you. Over and over and over again.
I would love to hear your stories of those who's words of love have impacted you. Leave a comment and share your story!