The friend with whom I was playing racquetball this morning shared how he was having to adjust his schedule for his neighbor. I learned that his neighbor was close to dying while his elderly wife was ill. They had no family. It is not unusual to hear family members answer the call to take care of sick or distressed family members, but this was the first time I heard of neighbors rallying to help a couple in dire need. The neighbors were handling the elderly couple’s finances, mowing their lawn, comforting him while he was in the hospital, and handling any problems that came up.
Hearing this story reminded me of Galatians 6:2 as well as the story of the Good Samaritan. These neighbors had no reason to help this couple, yet every act of kindness was a subtraction from the neighbors’ time and resources. They were merely living examples of the love John spoke of in 1John 3:11, “This is the message you heard from the beginning: we should love one another.” (NIV) Actualizing God’s command to love may not always be easy; it can involve sacrifice in which you literally carry the burdens that others are bearing. Love should always be the predominant image of those who are following Christ. God’s love in you is that much more beautiful when there is no obligation or expectation connected to bearing the burdens of others.
The gospel Jesus left for mankind was not one of law, but one where the Holy Spirit lives out His life through His followers. Ask the Holy Spirit to enliven you to the needs of others. Ask God to give you a greater heart of love that encompasses not only those close to
1 John 3:18 “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” (NIV)
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