I’m excited about our new sermon series Live Out Love!
However, the notion first conjures up many negative emotions, like sadness, rejection, friendlessness, shamefulness, hopelessness, and apathy. Why, you might ask, would an optimist like myself first think on these negative emotions?
When I think on how Jesus lives out love in many of the New Testament Bible stories and I put myself in their place; I empathize with the main characters who are dealing with these emotions. These are the poor in spirit Jesus came to serve. Think about it, the lepers felt hopeless, the woman at the well—friendless, the bleeding woman—rejected, and the man at the pool of Bethesda—apathy.
At a young age we all realize the world isn’t fair. As we mature, we come to understand this truth is harsher and broader than we could ever imagine. Often times we push reality aside believing if those who fall on the less fortunate side of life just tried harder, they too would be better off. While this idea might make us feel better sadly it is often not based in fact.
Over the weekend, I heard an alarming news report about the state of the haves and have-nots in America today. CBSN reported 66% of Americans cannot cover a $400 unexpected expense. This is heartbreaking to me!
In John 6:26 Jesus teaches those who continued to follow Him after He fed them on the hillside, to
“not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on Him God the Father has set His seal.”
In one of our daily scripture readings this week we read in Micah 6:8 where God tells us what our work is to be about. The work He considers to be good and what He requires of His people to be about is justice, kindness and humility.
We learned about these same principles, the three primary forms of love, in Jed’s sermon last week on Matthew 23. Practically speaking, we are to work within a framework of fair and just use of our power. We are to fight for a fair judicial system especially in protecting the weak. We are to have honest business dealings and to be faithful in keeping our word. And at all times, we are to walk humbly with God doing the work He has given us to do, not thinking of ourselves as more important than another.
We are not only to be fair to those less fortunate but we are to do what is right in the sight of the Lord. In short, we are to live out love by living out the Golden Rule –
“So, in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.”
When we do this, we offer hope to those who are in need of God’s Love. We anoint their wounds of sadness, rejection, friendlessness by restoring hope through the power of the Holy Spirit working in us and through us as we leverage our time, talents and resources just as God prescribes.
One way I like to think about it is to visualize Jesus as the Bridge. He is the bridge between the Old and the New Testament. He is also the bridge between the Jews and the Gentiles. And when I focus the lens even closer, I see He is the bridge between individuals in great need and their Heavenly Sustainer, the One who loves them dearly.
As God’s ambassadors we too are to be sacrificial bridges between individuals in need of God’s loving touch, which becomes a life-line that points them back to Him, which takes their apathy to joy, rejection to inclusion and most importantly their hopelessness and to hopefulness.
Oh Lord our Savior, I pray the next six weeks of sermons will enliven and strengthen each of us to Live out Love to those in the metroplex who are calling out for our help as we work for Him by Loving His people as we extend justice, kindness and faithfulness. And may it all be for His honor and glory and the benefit of His people. Amen.