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You Make Life Worth Living

As a part of an assignment for a doctoral thesis, a college student spent a year with a group of Navajo Indians on a reservation in the Southwest. As he did his research, he lived with one family, sleeping in their hut, eating their food, working with them and generally living the life of a 20th century Indian. 

A close friendship developed between the student and the grandmother. They spent a great deal of time sharing a friendship that was meaningful to each, yet unexplainable to someone else. In spite of the language difference, they shared the common language of love and understood each other.

When it was time for him to return to the campus and write his thesis, the tribe held a going-away celebration. It was marked by sadness, since the young man had become close to the whole village and all would miss him. As he prepared to get up into the pickup truck and leave, the old grandmother came to tell him goodbye. With tears streaming from her eyes, she placed her hands on either side of his face, looked directly into his eyes and said, “I like me best when I’m with you.”

Isn’t that the way we feel in the presence of Jesus? He brings out the best in us. We learn to see ourselves as worthy and valuable when we are in His presence. The hurts, the cares, the disappointments of our life are behind us when we look in His eyes and realize the depth of His love. Our self-esteem no longer depends on what we have done or failed to do; it depends only on the value that He places on us.  (copied).

This account of a college student living with a Navajo tribe is a great illustration how a person can be loved and accepted when he chooses to live among a group that is not like him.  The student’s year-long association made a deep impression on members of the tribe and on him.

In a much nobler way, that is what Jesus did.  He left what was His natural surroundings of the throne of God and its splendor.  He “emptied himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men.” (Phil.2:7).  He “dwelt among us” as “the Word made flesh” (John 1:14).   He made an indelible impression.  Although “He was from the beginning, we heard him, and we have seen him with our eyes, and we have observed, and we have touched him with our hands, concerning the Word of Life….we also declare to you, so that you may have fellowship along with us; and indeed, our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.”(1 John 1:1, 3).

Now, 2000 years after His three year tour with the “earth dwellers” in Israel, we are still telling the remarkable impression He made on all that knew Him then.  And, the greater story is of the transformation in lives today that are transformed because He chose to come among us, show us the Kingdom of God, take the abuse and death for sin that was ours, and pay the price in full.  Then, in His resurrection, He offered life eternal to all that would believe in Him.  And, that offer is still valid for all who believe. That was quite a visit!  And, it is still the “Greatest Story Ever Told”!