Monday, August 30, 2010

"Love to give away..."

Saturday night we celebrated the 40th anniversary of YoungLife in Montgomery and it was a wonderful evening.  Ever since I first walked into a YL club meeting as a sophomore in high school, I have been hooked.  I have spent my life connected to the ministry and the concept that when God wanted a relationship with me, he didn't wait for me to come to him; he entered the world in person of Jesus.  So for my entire adult life I've stayed connected to high school students because I have known that God wanted me to love them like he loved me -- unconditionally and by entering their world.  That's what YoungLife is about, and I believe it's the heart of our Father.

So it was great to see pictures, watch videos, and hear from my friends who have had their lives changed.  But Saturday was especially fun because we got hear the music of Allen Levi.  He is a longtime friend of YL and a great spokesman for its power in reaching kids.  His songs are stories, most of which help you think about how the gospel relates to ordinary things. I enjoyed the few songs he did the other night, but this post is about a song he did not sing.  Probably my favorite Allen Levi song, because it resonates deeply with my life story.  The lyrics are below and you can listen to it here.

i may never have a little boy to wrestle on the floor
Or walk the aisle to give away a daughter i adore
i might never cry the tears that fathers cry on special days
i’m a man who’s never married, i have love to give away.

i might never know the promise or the kisses of a bride
But i will not mourn the absence of the bed i’ve been denied
Is it destiny or choice, i’m not quite sure that i can say
i’m a man who’s never married, i have love to give away.

But there are worlds of joy inside this world of tables just for one
Friends and family help me on this journey that i run
i have found that if my eyes and heart are open everyday
i will never be without a place to give my love away.

My family name might perish when they put me in the grave
But i’ve learned it’s not the family name that matters anyway
There’s a stronger Name that covers me on every single day
i’m a man who’s never married,  i will give that Name away.

So don't worry that I'm lonely, please believe me I am not.
I'm thankful for the meaning of the moments that I've got.
And i will not spend my life afraid of things that people say
i’m a man who’s never married, i will give my love away.

Till i’m seated at the table, i will watch and i will pray
i’m a man who’s never married, i will give my love away.
(Copyright Allen C. Levi, 2001)

Every time I hear the song, I'm thankful for all the avenues that God has provided me to give love away. After all, that is what life is all about.  Jesus summed up all the commandments with "love God and love people".  It is really the purpose of marriage -- a lifetime committed relationship where you can pour your love into them and into the children that God might bless you with.  That is an important part of God's plan, and so he said "It is not good for man to be alone".  It may be his plan for me one day, and that would be awesome.

But up until now it's not, and that's awesome too!  I am uniquely created to love friends and family that are placed in my path just as I would if I had (as they say) a family of my own.  The most important words in Allen's song (to me) are in the third verse.  Yes, friends and family do help me on this journey.  But most importantly, I need to keep my eyes and ears open, so that I will indeed never lack opportunities to love people -- to be a source of joy, encouragement, comfort, and sometimes even correction in their lives.  That is a life full of meaning and purpose, every bit as powerful as the life of a husband or father.

There are temptations to make the single life something other than what God intended.  It can be selfish without another person to teach you how to live with others.  It can be a pity party if you let yourself think about what you might be missing.  You could add to the list easily, especially if you've been there.  But when lived in fellowship with the one who made you and with an outward focus, it can be source of endless joy, because you have scores of people to pour yourself into.  Just as Allen's song suggests.

So, I live my life with enthusiasm and joy.  I will pour myself into showing Christ to a few high school students through another year of YoungLife leadership.  I will spend this fall enjoying football Saturdays with my dad, sisters, nieces, and friends.  I will keep my focus on using my resources and influence to make a difference in east Africa through Project 61.  I will stay in touch with my nephew while he's at college, and go to concerts with him.  I will spend time with my dad.  I will make weekend trips to visit close friends who are like family to me.  I will stay in touch with friends through facebook and twitter.  I will look for ways to model a walk with Christ in my workplace.  I will be on the lookout -- constantly -- for ways and places where I can give love away.

And, oh!  I will spend Monday nights at my sister's house with her family and a small group of friends, because it's become a tradition (starting with watching 24) and it is totally in keeping with why we're on earth -- for relationships.  And I. am. late.  So I'm out.


  1. thanks for pouring into us and treating us like are such an important part in our lives! and hey...monday night, maybe we can join you guys soon? :)

  2. This was great! It really hit home with me about my giving love away. Yes, I've done the marriage route and failed. I have been blessed with two daughters, but have been single a long time. I let myself have a pity party occasionally and wonder why God hasn't blessed me with another relationship. Thank you for reminding me that God's plan is ALWAYS the best plan. I can give myself to others as a single often times easier than if I was married. God has blessed me with resources and time to help others. Thank you Donnie for writing this blog!

  3. Donnie- You are an amazing man of faith. You really are. Thank you so much for sharing your heart through this blog post. I admire and respect you more than you will ever know.