Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Imagine No Malaria-Lenten Devotion Day 22: March 6

Wednesday, March 6, 2013: Love your Neighbor as Yourself 

Matthew 22:34-40 (NIV) “Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested Him with this question: Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law? Jesus replied, ‘love your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself”. All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.” 

On August 5, 2010, ten persons were killed on a mission trip to a remote village in Afghanistan. The majority of the folks were Christians who were living out their faith, sharing their gifts for the sake of helping those who found themselves in the margins of the Afghan society. Each had given up livelihoods and made sacrifices as they sought to live out the two greatest commandments. 

I have heard the questions asked, “Why would folks travel to a place so dangerous? Why would they risk their lives in a place so far from the security of their borders?” the answers lie in the Biblical text---each one who confesses Jesus Christ as Lord is to love God with heart, mind, and soul. Equally as important is to love one’s neighbor as we love ourselves. Neighbor is not bound by geography, but rather by one’s ability to connect with others who have been created in the image of God. Those who journeyed and died a horrific death knew the reason why they were willing to give of themselves sacrificially---for the love of God. 

We are being asked to support the cause “Imagine No Malaria.” We are asked to save lives, and we can do that by raising awareness that malaria is preventable through communication, education, and better health care. What we are being asked to do seems so small in comparison to what others have sacrificed. 

The challenge, however, is not to compare our tasks to the tasks of what others are doing, but rather to ascertain how we are living out our faith in relationship to how God has called and is calling us as individuals. The call is not about equal giving but equal sacrifice, for we do not live out sacrifice in the same manner. For example, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther King, Jr, Oscar Romero, and Mother Teresa all lived prophetically, each using their own gifts as given by God. 

Love God with all your heart, mind, and soul. Love your neighbor as yourself, and in the words of Paul let us live a life worthy of the calling we have received. 

Rev. William B. Meekins, Jr, Pennsylvania 

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