When I am a wasteland, you are the water. When I am the winter, you are the fire that burns. When I am a long night, you are the sunrise. When I am a desert, you are the river that turns to find me. What have I done to deserve love like this?

from “Love Like This” by Lauren Daigle (2018)

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“You have heard that it was said, Don’t commit adultery. But I say to you that every man who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery in his heart. And if your right eye causes you to fall into sin, tear it out and throw it away. It’s better that you lose a part of your body than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to fall into sin, chop it off and throw it away. It’s better that you lose a part of your body than that your whole body go into hell.”

Matthew 5:27-30

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Ok, so Jesus is wildly exaggerating here. Your English teach might even call it hyperbole. We hope that’s the case. Maybe I should go back and see if early historians made note of hordes of people walking around with self-inflicted limitations of their sight and reach. That is not something I particularly want to see myself.

Maybe I should say that I trust Jesus was using exaggeration to make a point. As we push past the mental image, I think I get it. It is not just our obvious outward actions that matter to God, that can distort human relationships, and that can damage our ability to see the God-image in one another. At the heart of things lies a reverence to the God of creation. There is a desire to never cause others – through our actions or words, thoughts or intentions – to miss out on seeing and feeling their great value, breathed into them by God. Both the outward and inward matter to God and should matter to us.

Byron Vance

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O God, I pray that my hands and actions, my mind and thoughts would reflect and represent the great goodness you have made in each of your children. Amen.

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So many things attempt to take priority in our lives. They each have their place.

Only one stands at the heart of things. Follow the voice of this One, our Lord, calling you today.

Byron Vance

Byron Vance is a United Methodist minister serving as Senior Pastor at the First United Methodist Church in Pell City, Alabama. He gets to share life with spouse Kelly, two teenage boys, a dog, a cat, and the occasional squirrel in the crawl space.

Fallow Ground

Carter Harrell

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