What do the movie Frozen and the Ebola epidemic have in common?
The first earned $67 million on opening weekend and became one of the most beloved movies of all time. The second has killed more than 7,500 people and could cost the global economy $32 billion. They share the fact that they made the top 10 list of Google searches for 2014. And they illustrate this lesson: people matter forever.
In Frozen, a character named Anna sets off on an epic journey to find her sister Elsa. At one point she is alone, shivering on a floor without heat. Her situation is dire. Her snowman friend Olaf finds her and starts a fire to revive her. As Olaf begins to melt, Anna begs him to back away. But Olaf responds with this memorable line: "Some things are worth melting for."
When the Ebola epidemic began in West Africa, health care providers from around the world decided that Olaf was right. Many were infected with the disease; some died. But all believed that serving people is worth its cost and more.
St. Augustine noted: "People travel to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering." C. S. Lewis was right: You have never met a mortal. When the sun and moon and stars are gone and the mountains and seas have disappeared, you and every person you know will still be alive somewhere—either with God in paradise, or separated from him forever.
The most important things in life are not things. They are the people you meet—every one, without exception. Every person is someone for whom Jesus was born and crucified. He would do it all over again, just for that one.
Now he invites us to share his passion for people. As we end 2014 and begin 2015, let's choose to make the main thing the main thing. Our Lord taught us the two Great Commandments: love God and love others (Matthew 22:34-40). They were his answer to the question, "Which is the greatest commandment of the Law?" They are two wings of the same airplane, two sides of the same coin. I cannot love God without loving those he loves. And I cannot love people fully without loving the One who made them and who loves them through me.
First 15 - Love God, Love Others card - tree covered hills version (Credit: Denison Forum/Evan Burton)My wife's latest blog post makes the point that habits require 66 days on average to form. To help you form the habit of loving God and people, our ministry has produced a reminder card we invite you to print and place where you will see it through the day. We also invite you to begin the year by spending 15 minutes alone with God each day through First15, a devotional resource written by my son, Craig Denison.
Think about your most precious memories from 2014—were they about things, or people? What memories will you help others make in the year to come?