Dose of Truth

The power of love

Tim Richards

First-lady Roselynn Carter passed away on Nov. 19, 2023. Her death and thinking about her family’s contributions to our country prompted me to think of their legacy. Whether or not you agree with her husband’s politics, the Carters lived honorable lives and set an amazing example by their unselfish service. When I write about any elected official, I always point out I am trying not to be political but simply sharing something which I believe can inspire each of us, regardless of our political affiliation.

The news of Mrs. Carter’s death made me decide to check out a book written by President Carter around his 90th birthday entitled, “A Full Life.” I found his book both fascinating and inspiring.

President Carter shared an experience he had after his unsuccessful first bid to become Georgia’s governor. He was privileged to go to Springfield, Mass., to share his faith with Puerto Rican families. The future president was partnered with a Cuban American pastor, Eloy Cruz, from a small church in Brooklyn, N.Y.. Throughout the week they served together, his respect for Pastor Cruz grew and grew. Carter observed the pastor’s ability to share his faith and gently engage people in deep spiritual conversations. He wrote, “I had been a state senator, and even a candidate for governor… He (Pastor Cruz) considered himself ‘just’ a Cuban, and a refugee, but I knew the opposite; he was a great man. As we prepared to say good-bye at the end of the week I asked him what made him so gentle, but so effective as a Christian witness, and he was quite disconcerted… He noted that Christ himself, although the Son of God, was always gentle with those who were poor or weak. He went on to say that he always tried to follow a simple rule: ‘You only have to have two loves in your life: for God, and for the person in front of you at any given time.’”

Carter never forgot Pastor Cruz’s words and used them as a model for how he treated those who had little. Both the pastor and President Carter were following what Jesus identified as the greatest command.

In scripture, a religious expert once asked Jesus, “‘Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?’ Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: “Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 26:36-39, NLT)

Loving God, serving him, loving others, and serving them has the power to change both us and others. Whether we are an unknown pastor to refugees or are an ex-president of the United States, God can use our love and service to glorify himself and to bless others.

As a pastor and columnist for nearly 15 newspapers, Tim Richards has lifted the spirits and challenged the hearts of those who have strong faith as well as those whose faith is weak. In his third book, “Sailing Through the Storm,” readers will again discover new ways to live with godly perspective in a world that increasingly seems to have lost its way.

Tim Richards

has been a pastor for 37 years, serving five churches, including his current church, The Refuge in St. Louis, which he founded. He and the congregation minister to those who are hurting and do their part to expand God’s kingdom. Tim and his wife Kelly have five children. “A Dose of Truth” which he has written for more than 25 years appears in 13 newspapers. His book, “Thriving in the Storm: Discovering God’s Peace and Perspective in Turbulent Times,” is available from Amazon. Feel free to contact him at Photography is another of his skills. Pastor Tim’s photos may be viewed at