Faithfulness can seem impossible sometimes. There are so many things God hopes for us to do and not do. We wonder how we can possibly live up to the letter of the law.
But when we really dig down, the spirit of the law is not so difficult. God loves us and empowers us to love back to God and out to others. That’s it: love is the law.
But the legal expert wanted to prove that he was right, so he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus replied, “A man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. He encountered thieves, who stripped him naked, beat him up, and left him near death. Now it just so happened that a priest was also going down the same road. When he saw the injured man, he crossed over to the other side of the road and went on his way. Likewise, a Levite came by that spot, saw the injured man, and crossed over to the other side of the road and went on his way. A Samaritan, who was on a journey, came to where the man was. But when he saw him, he was moved with compassion."
Years ago, in Kenya, our hosts showed us around the village, introducing us to families attending a school we’d partnered with. Each family invited us into a tiny home and set out a feast of cookies and tea. It felt too extravagant; like we shouldn’t eat cookies I knew cost a day’s wages.
At one home, I stepped into a puddle and came out with my sandal covered with mud. The mom of the house swept a blouse off the clothesline.
“No!” I said, mortified she’d use such a treasured item on my dirty feet. She looked like I had punched her in the stomach with my refusal. So I said okay, and she helped me shine my toes. She beamed as I walked away and called her daughter to draw more water for laundry.
Today’s passage reminds us we shouldn’t assume who can be a servant and how much they have to offer. Sometimes it isn’t easy to accept help from unexpected places, but acknowledging another’s capacity to give can be a blessing too.
Loving God, break down open my assumptions about who the helpers are. Help me to see possibility for love and longing to serve, even in people who might seem to have nothing to offer. Amen.
It’s not so much what we have in this life that matters. It’s what we do with what we have. The alphabet is fine, but it’s what we do with it that matters most. Making words like “friend” and “love.” That’s what really matters.
Today, may you do something that matters, trusting that you’re wrapped in the arms of our gracious God, whose number one rule is “Love!”