(Jesus said) "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you." John 15:12
When 94-year-old Shirley Batchelder looks back over her life, that is the one word which summarizes the decades: "Fantastic." When interviewed, Batchelder, a resident of Franklin, Tennessee, dusted off some of the high points. First on her list was the fact she had been married to the same man for over 57 years. That blessed bit of information was intensified by the fantastic fact that -- at least in her opinion -- her husband was as "handsome as can be."
But there were other things that were listed as this lady celebrated her "fantastic" life:
There were three children and plenty of grandchildren.
There was the time she met her idols: Pat Sajak and Vanna White.
There are the games she hosts at Steeple Chase Manor Retirement.
And then, of course, there was her television ad.
For a long time Batchelder has been checking things off her "bucket list" -- that is, things she would like to do before she casts off this mortal coil. Her television ad was the last item on her list.
Now you may be permitted to wonder, what kind of television advertisement would be sponsored by a 94-year-old woman? Well, I can tell you it wasn't a glitzy commercial. No big New York advertising companies were called in to write the script. No famous superstars or spokes-models were hired to make the pitch. Since the commercial only ran once there was no need to set aside money for a big budget.
So, here's what Batchelder's ad looked like: there was a black screen and then three words, lettered in white, appeared on that black background. The three words said,
LOVE ONE ANOTHER
Most of the Daily Devotion readers will not be surprised if I tell them that Batchelder's commercial is not an original idea. When He was with us, Jesus said the same thing. Indeed, He not only said it, the Savior lived it. According to His Father's plan, He showed love to a sinful world, a lost world, a world that didn't want Him, rejected and murdered Him. Even so, Jesus loved us and the risen Lord shows that He is able to forgive us and grant us a new life with Him.
According to church tradition, when the apostle John was very old, men would carry him into church, and he would preach a sermon. No longer able to give a lengthy address, John's sermon was confined to these words: "Little children, love one another" (cp. 1 John 3:18).
So there you have it. Jesus tells us to love each other; the beloved apostle John agrees, and so does Shirley Batchelder of Franklin, Tennessee.
That should be all the directive we need.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, You have loved us when we were not lovable, now please help us to do the same for all those around us. In the Savior's Name I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries