Matthew 22:37-40 – Jesus said, "'Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.' This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' These two commands are pegs; everything in God's Law and the Prophets hangs from them." (MSG)
A friend of mine is quite elderly and frail. In the past he has always been a dynamic man and enjoyed giving generously to others. Now, however, since experiencing three minor strokes plus the death of his wife a month ago, he finds himself in a very difficult position. For the first time in his life he is dependent upon the giving of others. He needs others to give him a ride when he wants to go out. He needs others to give him their time by stopping around for coffee and a chat. He needs others to give him a hand getting in and out of vehicles, up and down stairs and even in pulling off his beloved cowboy boots!
As he was sharing with me his struggle over how much of a burden he now feels that he is on account of his dependence upon others, I asked him why he had given so generously over the years. Musing upon this question he finally answered: "Because it blessed me. Helping those in need gave me great joy and satisfaction. It helped me to see beyond myself. I believe God blessed me so that I could then bless others." Even as his answer came forth, I could see that his struggle in now receiving giving from others was being revealed to him in a whole new light.
Now instead of believing that he is a burden upon society, he is beginning to see that God is still using him to bless others with his generosity: generosity of giving that graciously receives so that others might have opportunity to receive blessing, experience great joy and satisfaction, learn to see beyond themselves and more deeply understand that God has indeed blessed them so that they in turn can now bless others.
Prayer: Lord God, help us this day to love others as well as we love ourselves, by remembering that by graciously receiving their giving, according to our need, we are indeed blessing them with opportunity to obey and fulfill the second greatest commandment, as given by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.