Sunday Devotional: Luke 10:25-37

And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?”  And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”  Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead.  Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.  So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.  But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.  He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.  And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’  Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?”  He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”  (Luke 10:25-37)

This is one of the most well known parables that Jesus taught during his earthly ministry.  “The Parable of the Good Samaritan” teaches us a lot about what it means to be a follower of Jesus and what it means to love one another.  When we understand who our neighbors are (which is everyone we encounter) and we understand what we are to do, it should impact us and change our interactions.

The Samaritan showed mercy to the injured Jewish traveler which was so countercultural to the people that heard the story at the time.  And the same can be said for today for believers to show mercy and love to those who others would say are “enemies”.  When the Gospel impacts us in the way that it should then it will play out in loving not just our friends but also our enemies and show that all are neighbors to us.

Jesus told the lawyer to “Go and do likewise” in showing mercy.  Let us this week do the same in showing love and mercy to our neighbors around us.

Sunday Devotional: Colossians 3:12-13

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”

We all need compassion.  We all need kindness shown.  We all need patience.  We all need forgiveness.  Just as much as we need those things shown to us, we need to show that to others.  God has blessed us greatly with kindness, patience, forgiveness.  We need to be willing and able to show that same love, compassion and forgiveness with others.

This week, let us love one other.  Let us show that love with humility and meekness.  Let us have compassionate hearts for those hurting and those in need.  Let us forgive one another.  Let us encourage one another.  Let us do that with the love and kindness and compassion that God has shown us through Jesus.

Keeping Tough While Being Soft

One Bible verse that I’ve been kind of thinking about lately is Matthew 10:16:  “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”  The context of this verse being Jesus is talking to His disciples and is preparing them to go out to share about the Kingdom of God.  This story I’ve heard and read numerous times over the years.

What I’ve been thinking about lately is I guess another take on it.  And that take is this.  We are to be tough while still being soft.  What does that mean?  Well, circumstances can be rough sometimes.  People will say and do things to hurt you.  Events will happen beyond your control.  We live in a fallen world.  Toughness will develop as we go through the storms of life.  In the meantime, we are called to love one another.  We are to be soft with warm hearts to those in need around us.  To see the world as Jesus sees the world, with love and compassion.

It is hard to remain tough while being soft.  But that’s where the Holy Spirit comes into play.  He is there to comfort during the hard times and help us through those storms.  He is the one who helps us remain tough.  At the same time, He is there to keep us soft to the needs of those around us.

Keeping tough while being soft.  It is not easy, but thankful that God has the grace and mercy to continue to work in and through me to make that happen.