Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "I'm Not Ashamed To Own My Lord"1 (Lyrics)
Matthew 22:37-40 – [Jesus] said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (NRSV)
You may have seen the phrase in today's title a time or two, but it holds special meaning for me, and the pandemic is messing it up! For years, my weekly routine included a trip to the Canadian Blood Services. I gave about two hours each week to travel to the clinic, get hooked up to the plasma machine and then rest and restore for a while and return home or back to work. Over the course of an hour, the machine separates the plasma from the other blood components and returns them with sterile saline solution to help the body replace the plasma that is removed. The pandemic closed our clinic to focus on whole blood in a safe and sterilized environment. I had made more than 250 donations, and I had hoped to make 300 before I would finish, but the pandemic messed up the math. I was able to get in three whole blood donations over eight months, and I hope to be back soon to plasma donations. See, I believe that it is in me to give — blood and plasma and time — and any other way that I can give. I consider it to be one more act of love in my Christian life along with all my church and other community involvements. My life was given to me to give away — in as many ways as possible. Oxenham said it well a century or two ago:
- Love ever
gives, forgives, outlives,
and ever stands
with open hands,
for while it lives, it gives.
For this is love's prerogative —
to give, and give,
– John Oxenham
I try to make it my life's goal to find, always and everywhere, new and innovative ways to give. A friend of mine, Jesus, once said,
Luke 6:38 – Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back. (NRSV)
As you prepare for the day ahead, ask God to open you to the new possibilities that are waiting for you!
Prayer: God, help me to give from all that has been given to me. Help me to offer a kind word, a sympathetic smile, an outstretched hand, willing feet. Use me in any and every way that brings me closer to the way of Jesus, in Whose name I pray. Amen.