Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Soldiers Of Christ Arise"1 (Lyrics)
Mark 12:31a – The second is equally important: "Love your neighbor as yourself." (NLT)
The note was attached to the door; the decision had been made.
At nine years of age, he was doing what most boys his age did in the summer: romping and playing — until his sister noticed how yellow his eyes were. She ran inside to tell their mother, who took him to the emergency room. The local hospital transferred him to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. Two days later, he had a new liver.
This family were our neighbours, but we knew nothing about their tragedy. We only knew that we hadn't seen anyone home for three weeks. Initially, their youngest son did well. Then his body began rejecting the liver. They made several trips back and forth to Charleston, and each time, we waited for an update.
During their last trip, my wife noticed the local power company taping a notice to their door. She knew what it was, caught the deliverer of bad news, and asked how much the bill was. The mom had not been able to work due to the circumstances, and the dad had missed numerous days himself. If $450 weren't paid by the next day, their power would be turned off.
"Why don't we take a love offering at church?" my wife asked. Since no one but us knew the family, I didn't know how the people would respond, but I decided to take a chance. We'd had the child on our prayer list. On Sunday morning, the church gave $406. When I announced the total at the evening service, the remaining balance was quickly received. As soon as the power company opened Monday morning, my wife paid the balance.
Loving my neighbour is a good feeling — whether they live right beside me or not. Doing so also helps me to obey what Jesus termed the second greatest commandment. Only loving God with my entire being surpasses it.
Opportunities to love my neighbour — whoever and wherever they might be, abound. But like my wife, I must be attentive to the working of God's Spirit in my innermost being if I'm to see them. If I live life selfishly, I'll miss most, if not all, of the opportunities that God sends.
Let's ask God to open our eyes so that we can see opportunities to love our neighbour.
Prayer: Father, enable us to love others as passionately as You love us. Amen.