Last week I was able to attend a seminar presented by Calvin College which was held here in our auditorium. The guest speaker was Arthur C. Brooks, and the theme of his talk was “Bringing America Together.” His main point was how people have a tendency to look with contempt at those with different standards, opinions, or beliefs.
I was reminded of another seminar I attended a few years ago in which the speaker referred to the Law of Differences. The Law of Differences says that there are two paths we can take with regard to the differences we encounter in others. We can either judge others for their differences, or we can value others for their differences. When we judge others, we see their differences as weaknesses which leads us away from a relationship with them. Essentially, the relationship “dies” before it even has a chance to begin. However, when we value others despite their differences from us, we are laying the foundation for a thriving relationship, a relationship that “lives.”
We can choose to value another’s differences, or we can choose to judge them. Our decision dictates whether the relationship “lives” or “dies.” Of course, we are not going to see eye to eye with everyone, even other believers, but as Christians we should always strive to value the strengths in others, even those we may staunchly disagree with. As John 13:35 reminds us, the world will know that we are Christians by the love we have for one another.
What a good reminder to start of this new year—to love one another and value our differences.
You are invited to attend this series presented by Calvin College throughout the month of January. SJCS is hosting a simulcast each weekday from 9:30 - 10:30 in our auditorium. The January series is designed to help Christians Listen, Learn, and Discern. Here is a link to more information regarding this series.
What does it mean to leave a legacy? I found numerous definitions/explanations of what leaving a legacy means. Webster’s Dictionary defined legacy as anything handed down from the past. An article in Huffington Post defined it as the need or the desire to be remembered for what you have contributed to the world.
To me, legacy means what did my character say about me, what did others learn from me, what will I be remembered for after I am gone and what positive impact did I have on others.
On August 28, 2018, Tina Vander Veen, a long time supporter of SJCS passed
away at the age of 94. She left a legacy! Tina had 12 grandchildren. All 12
grandchildren graduated from SJCS. For one year, all 12 attended SJCS at the
same time-the oldest in 8th grade and the youngest just starting kindergarten.
Tina and her husband Sid, until he passed away many years ago, were attendees to every event that their grandchildren participated in at SJCS. Even after Sid’s passing away, you would see Tina at every sporting event, musical event, fundraising event, special event, and of course, Grandfriend’s Day.
Numerous years ago, Tina and Sid were presented the gift of being named the ‘Official Grandparents of SJCS’ for their many years of dedication and commitment to SJCS. This plague was proudly displayed in their home. Anyone who came into the home was shown the plague and told about SJCS. This plague was also on display at Tina’s memorial service. She took great pride in being part of the SJCS family.
Tina not only attended events of her grandchildren, she modeled a life that they would remember in great detail. Tina was a godly woman, faithful in prayer, faithful in reading her Bible, faithful in trusting God, faithful in serving and loving others. As one grandchild shared, “‘Beppe" showed unconditional selfless love to every person she encountered.” She was not only Beppe to her grandchildren but to her grandchildren’s friends. And as her family grew, she invested that same unconditional love to her 22 great-grandchildren.
Tina is now enjoying her eternal reward with her heavenly Father, but her legacy lives on through her family and those of us at SJCS that knew her.