I watched the move, “A Thousand Words” starring Eddie Murphy the other night. The movie has a profound meaning behind it and it is rather spiritual.
Now if you have not seen the movie, I want to warn you of a SPOILER ALERT! So if you plan on watching it, maybe pause reading this, watch the movie, and then come back and read the remainder of my post.
The character Eddie Murphy represented ended up having a tree miraculously sprout out of his back yard just after he signed a large and crucial account with a “spiritual guru”
The tree had just a thousand leaves, and the result was that this character only had a thousand words before he may possibly die just as the tree did by losing the leaves.
Jesus and the bible overall speaks of both love and obedience in action throughout. I believe love is more of a verb than it is a noun. In other words it is an action word.
Sometimes it is true, talk is cheaper than actions. Just as in the book of James it is discussed that we are not saved by works, however It is better show your faith by your actions because faith is dead with out works or actions.
Jesus spoke of love often. He even said the most important of all the commandments was to love the lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul. Likewise are we are to love our neighbors as our own selves. He closed in saying basically, hang all of the laws on that.
Paul further shares that the greatest of things is Faith, Hope, and Love, however by far the greatest of all is love.
I enjoy the song, “I Believe” by Eliot Sloan of the band, Blessid Union of Souls. He shares that he strongly believes love will find a way. Love will find a way to break racial barriers and discrimination. It will find a way to feed the hungry, lift up the down trodden, and restore stability and guidance by the Creator of the Universe.
Oh, I have had many people that have told me that they loved me. And it was really nice hearing those words. However I discovered the ones who truly loved me for who I am, and who God is wanting me to become; are those that loved me in the valleys as much as they loved me in the peaks. And the people who truly love you show up. They stand by you, they encourage you, they help you in your time of need not matter what time it may be. Those who inspire you to be the best you can be, and genuinely desire the best for you. They will even be there when you don’t even want them to be there when you may feel that you are not deserving of love. In your darkest times, to hold your hand, to be that shoulder to lean on, or to be just a simple listening ear.
It is true with your children. I know this as I am both a son, and a father of three children. A child may appreciate gifts that you give them, however what they will remember the most is when you were present. When you are with them totally in the moment sharing activities, laughs and adventures, It is not about the presents you may receive, it is about the presence. I, myself, barely remember presents as a child. However, I do remember the jokes, laughs and stories my father shared. I remember the times when my mother held me, and told me how important I was, even when I felt unimportant. I remember when I was sick and my mom was there to tend to me, and rock me as a child. I remember the times she stayed up all night to take care of me. I also remember some of the first hugs from my dad, and the times he said he loved me. I remember when my parents showed up for drama plays or singing performances of mine. I looked forward to showing them good grades and accomplishments as I loved when they said, “Good job” or “I am proud of you son.” I remember our first camping trip, and the first time I went fishing with my dad. I can even nearly quote the stories my dad would share with me and my brothers, and the times of our wrestling on the floor together with my two other brothers.
Love is revealed in action, not in materialistic items, or mere words. People will cherish the actions much more than the gifts. Sometimes it may take a few years on this planet to realize this. I recall friends coming to me much later in life, or many years later sharing with me one on one things like, “I appreciate that you called me to see how my wife was after the surgery and sending that basket.” “I appreciate what you told me in Sunday School as a child, It changed my life and now I am a better man for it.’” “I loved that you showed up and shovel my driveway in the midst of that bad storm” “Thanks for sending those pizzas over the weekend, I was so tired, and worn out, I could not even muster enough strength to prepare a meal for my kids and me.” “I appreciate that you volunteered to serve in our neighborhood and make our neighborhood a safe place” “You know you were the only one who came over the check on my elderly Mom and Dad.” “Thank you for coming to the hospital, and talking with me for hours. I know how busy you are and I am thankful you are my son.” “Thank you for remembering my birthday”, “Dad, you are a good dad, and I love you so much” “Dad you are a good, good father?”….
All I can say to those words is wow! I didn’t even know I made such an impact. I thought I was just doing things that people normally do when you love them. The most treasured are when my children tell me they love me without any form of solicitation for such a compliment. It absolutely touches my heart. And when they add a hug, and a head on the shoulder with it. I melt.
However, I am not perfect. I have most certainly made mistakes. In my younger years, I thought the most important thing a man does is work and provide. To bring home the bacon per say. I have missed countless times to wish loved ones happy birthday, or say that I am thinking of them and that I am praying for them. Or to simply make a phone call to check in, or a mere text of hello, how are you, and that I love you. I have even missed times to simply show up and offer a hand, and I regret it.
As I have grown older, I am more observant of such things as love in action. I love my kids so much I could just hug them for hours. I make sure I tell them I love them and what they mean to me. We are not guaranteed tomorrow and I surely want my children to know that I love them and how much they mean to me. I try to focus my time with them pouring into them love, wisdom, and direction. And, yes, it also involves discipline. I believe if you truly love your children, discipline is also necessary. I certainly would rather discipline them when they get out of line, or become unruly at a young age and have them respect what is right and authority; than have a police officer have to do it later in life. God certainly has shared in His Word that He chastised the ones that He loves. However, thus far, time-outs, and groundings have worked with my children. I have not yet had to resort to spankings, and I would certainly hold off on something like that as the last resort.
Watching the movie, “A Thousand Words” had me thinking of how if I could not talk, how would it be that I could demonstrate love. We know the definition of love in the bible in 1 Corinthians 13. Keep in mind, charity means the same thing as love in these verses and context of this King James Version.
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”
ADDITIONAL SPOLER ALERT:
The character Eddie Murphy plays in this movie, “A Thousand Words,” in the end was able to actually not only save his own life, but able to save his marriage, and deepen the relationship with his wife, his very young son, and forgive and heal over what was assumed the desertion by his father when his character was a child, who soon died after he (his father) left. He was also able to bless others in a phenomenal way. In the end he realized love in actions was the best and most profound love of all and he was much better for it, and exceedingly more content. He became real, genuine, and authentic. He realized what was truly most important.
I too seek to be more intentional in my love. To be more authentic and genuine. To say what I mean, and mean what I say. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy showering my children, loved ones and close friends with gifts. However, what may be most remember and profound is your love in action. The emotional deposit and positive actions you take in another’s life. This is what is eternal.
I coined a phrase that I love. Now, again, don’t get me wrong when I share this phrase below. I have had money and I have not had money. It was a bit less stressful without financial adversities, for sure. And most people like receiving gifts just as I do. However, life is not about how many toys you have or money you make, it’s about how many lives you touch and good you can create.