Criticism will grow over your writings, but thankfully your reputation, as a devoted follower of Christ will endure the test of time. So much of what you have said has had an impact in my life that I could never express my gratefulness for you. And so today, I thought I’d write down some of those things—the things that I have learned from you—so that perhaps maybe with these few words, I can honor you.
I love that you accepted your position of honor as you stayed close to the Savior and walked by His side. You, the disciple that Jesus loved, figured out what it means to “deny yourself, pick up your cross and follow me.” You understood what it took to truly love Jesus. You followed Him diligently with all heart, passion and service, “so that in all things He might have the preeminence.”
I feel so grateful for you. For your life testified the words and works of Jesus Christ. In a moment in time, I grasped the message of the gospel as you carefully considered the events of His life. For the first time, I, along with many others, discovered the Way, the Truth and the Life.
And so I got to know the Savior that you intimately knew and you shared your knowledge with me so that I too could love and serve Him better. His humanity continues to comfort me greatly for He understands me. While His divine nature still humbles me and blesses me in more ways than I even understand. And so I’ll keep holding on to His grace as you taught me, knowing that He has set me free.
Dear friend, I have come to know love by this, that Jesus laid down His life for me; thus I, one of your “little children,” ought to love others because He first loved me. I should have a readiness to do anything for other people, just like you. You taught me that the evidence of genuine love has nothing to do with words, but instead it completely involves self-sacrificing love. It means action, deeds rather than verbal professions.
I thought that you would end it there, but then you had more to say. You revealed Christ’s plan for the future and you told me to get ready for the return of our Savior. I don’t quite understand it all, but you said those things, the unveiling of the things to come, should spur me to have courage, to get ready and go!
You also warned me of the worldly dangers that I now face daily as I seek to know and serve God better. And in these last days, as I continue to follow your model of submitting to the will of our Father, I will hold on to your teaching with fervor and might knowing that God’s will for my life is for me to live with Him forever. I do indeed have hope!
Although I have more to say to you, I don’t want to do so here, but I hope to one day speak to you face to face to tell you all these things. In the meantime, I will do as you did and perhaps maybe I can—just like you did—honor Him with my life.
I look forward to when our joy will finally be complete.