Monday, April 14, 2014

Look Around: In the Service of Love

Written as a devotion for my college Christian fellowship's mailing list

"Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor."
-- Luke 7:22 (NIV)

When John's disciples approached Jesus, saying John had said to ask if Jesus was the one who was to come, this is the reply the Lord gives. It comes down to this: look around and consider what you see. Jesus doesn't give them an answer directly, leaving it to John's disciples to interpret what is occurring.

How do we know that God is acting in our lives? How do we know that God is answering prayers? Look around. Maybe what you see isn't what you expected -- did John's disciples expect someone who came for the least and the lost? -- but we're surrounded by God all the same. It could be in little places, when we have to listen hard to hear the still, small voice. Maybe it's much more dramatic, like what Jesus pointed out to John's disciples. Either way, in our lives, God is present; thanks be to God.

How do we reflect God's presence in our lives? The list Jesus gives here is really focused on action and service. It's all about how our faith expresses itself. One of my favorite statements of faith says this:

"We believe that this faith should manifest itself 
in the service of love
as set forth in the example of our blessed Lord,
to the end that the kingdom of God may come upon the earth."

Jesus showed love in a lot of ways, but there was always action. Love is the greatest commandment. It's the commandment that defines the Lord's Supper as told in John:

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
-- John 13:34-35

Jesus calls us to love, and in calling us to love as He loved us, He calls us to love actively. We look around and see God's love for us. Jesus didn't have to say that He was the one who was to come; John's disciples could see. That's the way and extent to which we're called to love.

(There's a hymn I love that's related to this: Lord, Whose Love Through Humble Service)

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