Allow me to take off the rose-colored glasses I wear while doing ministry and say, I don’t know about you but I intuitively feel like our country is tearing itself apart. If you spend just a short amount of time reading social media or any news source, you are inundated with negativity. It seems that in every way the fabric of our society is being torn or frayed at the edges.
I admit that there are things about our country need radical change. We each have ideas about what that change should be. Still, I think we can all agree that humans, God’s children made in his image, should treat each other with respect, dignity, and compassion, even if we hold different views and opinions.
This is the reason why we are starting a new sermon series called “Live out Love.” For the next six weeks we will look at how Jesus responded to the person who was religious but had the faith wrong, or the blatant sinner who knew they were doing the wrong thing, or the person who comes up with excuses for themselves time after time after time never than taking responsibility, or the foreigner who met Jesus, or the person who was self-indulgent at the expense of his neighbors. As we think about it and we study the scriptures, we learn how Jesus loved all types of challenging people and we are made more open to respond in the way that God is calling us to love others now.
My hope and prayer is that we will learn from this sermon series and apply what we learned to guide us as we attempt to live out God’s love in our communities.
Just like the athlete wanting to increase their strength, or the builder who wants to create something that will last the test of time, or the toddler wanting to their first step, or the follower of Christ wanting to share the Gospel, every one of these situations starts with one small step of courage, determination, and hope. Helen Keller said, “I long to accomplish a great and noble task; but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.” To “Live out Love” can be a great and noble task done through small, simple tasks that can turn into a great accomplishment.
Ask the good Samaritan, or the father of the prodigal son, or the friends of the lame man who lowered him down through the thatched roof to see Jesus, or the Roman centurion begging Jesus to heal his servant who was dying, or the boy who gave up five barley loaves and two fish to help feed five thousand. Imagine their response to a small act of kindness that made such an enormous difference in their lives.
Better yet, ask the person who is a recipient of a small friendly gesture, or a simple compliment, or a random act of kindness, or a thoughtful act of love, and they would tell you those acts are not small but carry great weight behind them.
Ask Joshua, the father who Restoration was able to help keep him, his wife, two children, and his mother-in-law off the streets by paying for another week in a hotel while waiting for his first paycheck to arrive. Ask him what it meant to him and how something so small as answering a phone call had such a large impact on him.
Every little thing we do can lead to something bigger and more significant but the truth of the matter is that those things are not done on impulse but as a series of small things made great by God’s hand. If you are worried about what is going on in our culture and why the world is responding with negativity, let’s “Live Out Love”—Jesus’ love—and change the world one small step at a time.