It’s not a half-hearted love
Luke 10: 25-36
25 Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he said, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ 26 He said to him, ‘What is written in the law? What do you read there?’ 27 He answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.’ 28 And he said to him, ‘You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.’
29 But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbour?’ 30 Jesus replied, ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan while travelling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, “Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.” 36 Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?’
At the end of a busy day, the best thing you can do to get things in perspective, is to walk outside and look up. There, in a dark star-filled sky, you see the magnificence of God’s creation. If you’re even luckier and you look north, away from city lights you might catch sight of the Northern Lights rippling and gleaming. This is no half-hearted Creator but a God who treats us to extravagant beauty and glory. Once we’ve reflected on that, the perspective of what happened inside the house, or at work today, drops back into its proper place in life.
It’s the same with emergencies – a man lies bleeding in the road, so you run to help. No second thoughts about where you were going – it’s an emergency, so it’s a priority and our help is not given half-heartedly.
Jesus says that the community in which we share, is a priority for our time and effort as Christians. We don’t hold back when we can care for others – radical love can mean giving our lives away instead of concentrating on self. But it’s only in doing this that we suddenly discover a fulfilling life lived close to God which is better than we dreamt.
Extravagant God, thank you for the beauty which surrounds us in nature.
Not one or two stars but a sky full of galaxies. Not just a spectacular rainstorm, but a sky lit up with a rainbow.
Nudge me out of half-heartedness – the Scottish reserve that is a mark of our nation. I love home and family and thank you for it, but send me out into our community with love for others.
Send me to care for young children, for vulnerable older folks, for neighbours whose lives are restricted by lack of health or the loss of work and income.
Teach me to be ready, not just for an emergency, but for day-to-day care and concern.
Bless me with the understanding that your love keeps on giving, and that in giving, I too, receive.