Yes, truly caring for someone can be a consuming and thankless job. And there are those that can be an especially heavy drain on our resources, time, and effort. There are those that will come to you not to share their lives with you, but who will only want to use you for what you can provide them in this world, with no real, genuine interest in the message of love that can provide for them eternally or in a relationship of love with one another.
And it should humble us, that we usually do not love others enough to persevere through even their lack of it towards us and continue to love and serve and forgive them – because that is the example that Jesus gave us. He didn’t just love and serve and provide for his friends and the faithful. The ones that he fed with a miracle are the same ones that left in droves when He called them to the heavy cost of true discipleship and when He called them to eat of His flesh and drink of His life.
Many have no real interest in loving like Christ, a life of sacrifice, putting the needs of others (yes, even of our enemies) ahead of our own lives and wants in this world. Many want to play religion and practice ceremonies, many are even okay with trying to live up to the law, but few are truly interested in loving each other – in serving each other – especially when it comes to those who won’t repay our kindness in turn. But that’s why it is a narrow path and few will find it.
You see, I’m studying this lesson and I’m being chastised over this topic because recently I have grown weary of certain people’s demands upon my life. And doesn’t me calling it “my life” speak volumes about the state of my heart and perspective? You see, I slipped out of the “everything is His and I’m just a steward” into thinking MY stuff, MY life, MY time, and MY resources. Yes, I got distracted and took my eyes off of, Christ and Christ alone and look where it has landed me once again – humbled by my own prose and selfishness – coming to the Father yet again, brokenhearted at my own foolishness and vanity.
Praise God from whom all of our blessings flow – and is any greater than His mercy and grace – that can take an old, busted, imperfect vessel like me to carry His Holy Spirit – and that in the process He changes me, He reconciles me to be more like my teacher. Not that His work in me is yet complete, because I am still in the potter’s hands. But He is reshaping me and working through me – I know it even if others might not yet see it.
And I know it because I love Him and because I am getting to know Him closer and closer each day as He draws me closer, as my steps bring me closer to my Father’s house along this journey. And the path is narrow, but there is only one destination worth reaching. I’m so glad He is the one ordering my footsteps, and that I’m learning to walk by faith, not by sight.
When I remember that His way really is best, and when I remember the joy that comes in giving sacrificial and following faithfully, and when I remember the undeserved gift that He has given me – it stirs me inside. Not just in my thoughts and my logic and my examining – but in my heart. And then I realize that I WANT to love others, that I am compelled to love others, that the drive of the Holy Spirit in me does overcome the concerns of the Flesh in this world. And it isn’t about HAVING to do it to live up to God expectations – that would be someone under the curse of the law. It’s about WANTING to do it – and that comes with a heart change that only He can make inside.
Have you asked Him to touch your heart today, friend? I pray that He will touch yours and mine. God bless your day ahead and the example and testimony that your life will demonstrate of His love alive in your thoughts, words, and actions.
But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Matthew 5:44-48 NLT