“Stolle-en” Moments July 2023: Transcending Transactions

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What would the world say that my son Jimmy can give to me and Shelley? Many people would say little to nothing. Due to being affected by a developmental disability, many would see my son as someone who is totally dependent on us. Yet we would die for Jimmy without a second thought because we love him.

Our relationship with Jimmy isn’t transactional. It’s impossible for him to provide goods and services to “balance the scales.” It’s a love relationship. It transcends transactions.

Jimmy Stolle enjoys shopping with his family. (Photo by Tom Stolle)

This led me to think: What can I do to complete Jesus? The answer is NOTHING. Jesus, the almighty Son of God, is already complete. Yet, Jesus died for me even though I can’t give Him anything to complete Him. He did it simply because He loves me.

I think it’s interesting that Jesus tells us in Matthew 25:31-40 what He is going to say at the judgment:

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory with all his angels, he will sit on his royal throne. The people of all nations will be brought before him, and he will separate them, as shepherds separate their sheep from their goats.

He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, “My father has blessed you! Come and receive the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world was created. When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat, and when I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. When I was a stranger, you welcomed me, and when I was naked, you gave me clothes to wear. When I was sick, you took care of me, and when I was in jail, you visited me.”

Then the ones who pleased the Lord will ask, “When did we give you something to eat or drink? When did we welcome you as a stranger or give you clothes to wear or visit you while you were sick or in jail?”

The king will answer, “Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me.”

Jesus spells it out. Even though no one can give anything to Jesus to complete Him, Jesus gave everything to us, His own life, so that we can spend eternity with Him. Yet it is crystal clear that Jesus says what we do for others, that can’t give us anything back, matters eternally.

If we don’t do the same to others, who are helpless and can’t offer us anything but a “thank you,” what have we really accomplished? Power and prestige aren’t mentioned in what Jesus says He is going to say at the judgment. What Jesus places priority on is loving and serving others that can’t give you back any of the material things that you gave them. Jesus wants your heart, and He equates loving and serving people in need to loving and serving Him!

I think many people say they love Jesus, but they aren’t in love with Jesus. Jesus wants more from us than relationships built around transactions. It’s not about what we can get. It’s about what we can give.   

None of us always get this right, but we can and should do better, and the church should excel at this!

Let’s partner together and encourage each other as we love and serve those in need. In Jesus’ name!

Tom Stolle is the BCM/D executive director. You can contact him at [email protected].