Designer purse over cashmere sweater. She starkly contrasted the casual attire of the other restless patients. She settled herself on the leather sofa, and I concluded that she was a spoiled princess. The air felt extra stale as I heard a young boy’s relentless cough. It’s not fair, I whined. This is an obstetrician’s office, not a walk-in clinic! We shouldn’t have to worry about catching a cold! Continue reading The Princess Patient→
Love one another. This is the command Jesus gave throughout the gospels. Jesus modeled how to love others and as followers of Christ. We should do the same. Jesus stated love for one another as a part of the greatest commandment (Matt. 22:39). Loving others is what marks the life of a true disciple of Christ.
Love For God, Love For Others
You will notice that I did not touch on the first part of the greatest commandment: To love God (Matt. 22:37-38). That is because I wanted to expand on that a bit more. Love for God is essential if we truly want to love others.God has loved us with an everlasting love. He sent His one and only Son to die for us (John 3:16). His one and only! If that doesn’t show the magnitude of God’s love for us I don’t know what else does.
If I had an only son and had to give him up for the lives of total strangers I don’t think I could do that. Because He loved us so much we should in turn love and devote ourselves to Him. Our devotion to God is evident in our love for others.
Both loving God and loving others are interchangeable. When we love God we will love others; and when we love others will love God because God loves people. God’s love for people was evident when He sent His Son to die for our sins, and He calls us to follow His example of love (1 John 4:9-11).
How Do We Love? Whom Do We Love?
Jesus’ command to love others means essentially that we should look out for the needs of others.Look out for their needs as we would look out for our own.We should love our neighbour as ourselves. Jesus was asked by an expert in religious law, “And who is my neighbour?” (Luke 10:29). That’s a good question. How do we know whom we should love?
Jesus answers the man’s question in the following verses by telling The Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37). On his way from Jerusalem to Jericho a man was attacked by bandits. He was left for dead. People passed him by, a priest and a Levite, a temple assistant. None of them decided to help the man.
Only a “despised” Samaritan felt compassion for him enough to help him. The Scripture doesn’t say the injured man was Jewish. Perhaps that’s part of Jesus’ point: this man could be anyone and he should be helped.
If the injured man was Jewish, the same point is made. Samaritans and Jews in biblical times did not get along. They were at opposite ends of the spectrum and did not associate with one another. But this Samaritan did not think twice.
The Samaritan bandaged the man’s wounds, took the man to an inn on his own donkey, and offered to pay the bill for his stay. The one who was despised—the one from whom he would never imagined getting help—was the one who helped the man when no one else would.
When you wonder whom you should love and how we should love, look back on the Parable of the Good Samaritan. And go and do likewise.
Adam Harris, a certificate graduate of Steinbach Bible College, is connected with Braeside EMC. He lives in Winnipeg.
It wasn’t really a bad day, but there had been enough inconveniences to put me in a bad mood. I tripped and bruised my knee. The milk was sour. I was stood-up at a meeting I’d confirmed. The zipper on my jacket broke.
None of these events were earth-shattering, but I wasn’t keen to repeat them. I decided to console myself with a cup of tea on the way back to the office.
At the drive-thru, I held out some money to the cashier. She beamed at me and said, “Your order is paid for.” This didn’t make sense. I kept holding my money out. “Pardon?” I asked. “The guy ahead of you, he paid for your order,” the smiling clerk explained. Neat! Suddenly, all seemed right with the world again.
It would have been easy to get bogged down by everything that went wrong, but this kindness reframed it for me. I gave the clerk some money and asked her to cover someone’s order. My tea-break benefactor had only saved me about a loonie, but the kindness was much more valuable. It changed my day. I drove back to work with a smile.
Sometimes, it feels like kindness is in short supply. I’ve heard it often (and said it): “I’d love to help, but I have to (whatever I’m running to or from that day).” We blame our modern lives for this disconnection, but it’s not a new problem.
Jesus told the story of a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho who was attacked on the road, robbed, and left for dead. First a priest and then a Levite pass along the same road, but both avoid the injured man. Then a Samaritan comes along and, despite historical enmity between their peoples, stops to help. He disinfects and bandages the man’s wounds, then brings him to an inn to recuperate. In the morning the Samaritan gives two silver coins to the innkeeper, saying, “Take good care of him. Whatever you spend beyond that, put it on my bill. I’ll pay you on my way back” (paraphrase of Luke 10: 25-35).
I wonder how the Samaritan’s charity affected the traveller once he recovered. Did he remember the robbers’ cruelty and shape his life by that memory? Or did he remember the Samaritan’s generosity and shape his life by that debt? Did he “pay it forward” to others? Jesus ends his parable by asking, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10: 36-37 NIV).
I’ve recently been trying to emulate the good Samaritan, paying more attention to those around me. I am being more open with my money, but, as that cup of tea bought by a stranger taught me, kindness is more than that. I am also seizing tiny moments of kindness each day—holding the door, letting someone else go ahead in line, taking time to interact with the store clerk.
Our schedules will always be busy, no matter what time of year or stage of life we’re in. But by practicing simple gestures of kindness, we might change someone’s bad day into a good one. Kindness might even change the direction of a life. I think we all have time for that.
Sherri Grosz is a Gift Planning Consultant with Abundance Canada. For more than 40 years, Abundance Canada has effectively helped Canadians with their charitable giving in their lifetime and through their estate. To learn more, visit abundance.ca or call 1.800.772.3257 to arrange a confidential, no obligation free consultation.
No innkeeper refused a room to Joseph and Mary. The Greek word for the “inn” (KJV) used by Joseph and Mary in Luke 2:7 is not the same as the “inn” used by the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:34 (Dr. John Stafford). The former word can mean lodging or guest-chamber as well as inn; the latter means inn (Mounce and Mounce).
Stafford points out that if people were travelling to a home area, they would stay with family. If the guest room was already full, latecomers would share the space used by animals (K. E. Bailey and others).
What’s this mean? While the “innkeeper” didn’t exist, Jesus was, indeed, born in a humble setting used by animals.
It’s significant that Jesus was born in this setting. God sometimes seems to be invisible; at times, his works can seem difficult to locate and observe. Yet at Christmas we proclaim that “the Word became flesh” (John 1:14)—the invisible God became visible!
Jesus is “the human face of God” (J. A. T. Robinson). To say this fully, we affirm Jesus as true God and true man. Augustine said he had read elsewhere of the Word (Logos), but never that “the Word became flesh” until St. John spoke of Jesus. Augustine (AD 354-430) followed our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
“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 4:12). Does this verse say that the invisible God is also revealed by how we Christians live? If so, may we this Advent season help travellers to see the invisible God who became visible.