I think we often do only what is asked of us. We don’t do less than what is asked, but we also don’t try to do more than is asked. We settle for mediocrity in most things. What if that’s not what we should be doing? What if we aren’t here, still breathing, still living, just to be okay at something? What if the reason we are still living is so we can excel and be great at something we have been born and specifically created to do?
There was this lawyer, and he wanted to make sure he was doing the right things. He had money and popularity. He was skilled at his job and had plenty of clients. But he wanted to make sure he wasn’t missing anything. So he went and asked Jesus a question about how he could inherit eternal life. The question and response is recorded in Luke 10:25. Jesus responds telling him to follow two commands with a central theme of love (first loving God and then loving your neighbor). Jesus told him to do these things. The lawyer, wanting to make sure he gets it right, asks, “Who is my neighbor?” He wants to make sure that he does enough to inherit eternal life, but he isn’t keen on going much further than that. He could really be asking, “Jesus, tell me who specifically I need to be loving toward so I can just be loving toward them and not have to worry about the others.” He essentially is asking Jesus what is the bare minimum I can get away with in “loving my neighbor”?
Jesus asks big of the lawyer. He tells the story many of us are familiar with, The Good Samaritan, and reveals to the lawyer that gender, race, age, and/or belief don’t matter in defining who is your neighbor. Everyone is your neighbor and deserving of love and value.
Today lets not settle for the bare minimum. Let’s not settle for just getting by or just doing enough to be a “good Christian”.
Let’s not only love and care about and have compassion on a few people we really like. We can treat everyone we come across with dignity and respect, we can add value to every life we encounter. We can do this even if we disagree with their political views, religious affiliation, or sexual orientation. Christians should be known for their love, not their hate or judgment or condemnation. Jesus was known for His love and for going to where the lost hang out. But know this, too, love and approval are not the same thing. Let us be known for our love, for speaking the truth wrapped all over and around with grace and love.
Go above and beyond the bare minimum in loving your neighbor today.