(We’ve had two birthdays to celebrate this week – so we’re trying not to over-do it on sweets for now. We have pretty much everything gathered for Thanksgiving. Just recently, we’ve discovered a documentary about using Christian principles in – of all things – gardening. It sounds promising, but to apply what we’ve learned will neither be cheap, quick, nor easy. Meanwhile, I’m try to implement good habits – the last time I sort of fell off of the bandwagon and I’m almost back to the point where I was just in time to try not to fall off again. Anyway, I don’t really have anything to say.)
I’ve lived in a few states and in twice as many cities. I’ve been to many churches over the years and I can’t help but think that so many of us have allowed ourselves to be tricked into thinking that things are different than they actually are. We live in a way that is disconnected from the world and from each other. We should never treat another human being as if they are nothing – they were obviously valuable enough to God be worth sending His son to die so that they ( and you, too) might be saved. Walking on as if they are invisible to us doesn’t go unnoticed by God, who asks that we simply relate to one another on a basic level. (We can work on up to friendship later on, once you have that part down.) We shouldn’t see others as – “Just what we need to make our college applications / job resumes look good.” We should see them as individuals who are loved by God, who deserve to have their basic needs met, and a hand up so that in turn they can help others once our time is up.
When it comes to what we own, we have turned the tables so that our possessions own us. We’re a nation that is in debt, we’re families that are in debt, and we are churches that are in debt – these chains will keep us from going very far or doing very much to glorify God who has given us so much more than we can ever imagine. I remember reading about a book where an average family was asked to take a picture of the food they usually buy when they go shopping and to have another picture taken of all of their possessions laying in the front yard of their houses. In some of the poorer countries of the world you could describe both pictures as “not much” – but when you look at the pictures of the average American family you can see that not only did they get the necessities – fruit, vegetables, meat, pasta and bread items – but they could afford soda pop, chips, snack cakes and other ‘junk’ food. The pictures just oozed “excess”. What if Americans learned to not waste our “extra” on “junk” but to help our poorer brothers and sisters worldwide get three square meals a day? Could we also help cut the horrible statistic – 1/7 not getting enough food to eat – by half or more?
Worse of all – we just assume that others have it all figured out for themselves. We never stop them to ask if they know Jesus. If they’ve heard about the difference between Heaven and Hell. (I’m certain that there won’t be any good parties going on in the latter.) So many people think “Hey, I’ve been pretty good all my life. I don’t do anything out of the normal. I even behave myself. I have friends that are way out there – but I’m all good.” Good isn’t anywhere near good enough – some of the very best good people can’t earn their way into heaven, why would you be an exception?
The truth is that it all boils down to:
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
John had quite a bit to say about love:
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. (1 John 4:7-12)