Thursday, January 27, 2011

Matt's Legacy

As I was driving to work on the 24th of January, a song came on the radio. The lyric included, "...who will love me, for me? Not for what I have done or what I will become. Who will love me for me?..."  While some might say the answer is obviously God, I know others who would say, "No one." And there are those who would answer, "Parents", or "Family", or "Friends".  For me, the answer is definitely Christ. But, there was one friend who was a human example to me of the ability to love, in the way Jesus teaches us to love.

Since the following day was the 6th anniversary of Matt Smith's death in this world, my thoughts went to him and to how he lived. His is a legacy of example.

Matt Smith exemplified, to me and to most who came in contact with him, what the love of God sees in us and what we are capable of through that love. He was that rare person who truly exhibited the love of Christ. He made you aware of the way in which God loves each of us, unconditionally. When I met Matt, I met a man who loved the people he met by seeing them through the eyes of Christ. He loved, period. There was no pretense. This is not to say that he was more Christlike than most. Rather,he was a man, who had himself, been transformed by the love of Christ. Matt lived what he believed in a way that most of us do not. He allowed the love of Christ for him, to transform the way he looked at and loved those with whom he came in contact. I am grateful to have had his example. 

We all want to be loved for who we are. Those of us who profess faith in Christ believe that He loves us unconditionally. And while we believe that, it is not often that we see the fruit of that belief in our own lives or the lives of those around us. Too often we allow ourselves to be blinded to that love by our guilt or our expectations. We have trouble loving the way that Jesus does. He loves us. Period. There is no condition placed on His love. There is no expectation. We don't need to be something, or do something. He loves us for us. Or as the song says, "... love me for me, not for what I have done or what I will become.''  Our God loves us because we are His creation. And even though He knows our sin, He loves us. He came here, to the earth He created and lived among His creation, to show us how much He loved the people He created. He gave us the greatest example of how to love one another.

This made me think about the reason why Matt Smith is greatly missed by those who knew him. Matt's legacy was to show us our possibilities in Christ. Matt epitomized acceptance of people, regardless of their deeds or station in life.  We are all sinners saved by grace, Matt no more or less than any of the rest of us. But through his words, deeds and actions we saw the real potential of true Christ - followers to evoke change. Change, first, in themselves, in their families, in their communities and in the world at large. I thank God for Matt and the example he provided. And I pray that the love of God transforms my heart in a similar way. May each of us learn to love one another for no other reason than we are following the example laid out for us by Christ and hopefully by each of us who calls him or herself a follower of Christ. It may seem an impossibility, but we know it's not. We saw Matt do it.

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