Wednesday, April 2, 2014 12:25 AM

April 2, 2014

Wednesday, April 2, 2014 12:25 AM
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 12:25 AM

James 2:8-13

 Nothing Less Than the Best

One memory in particular always seems to ground me and remind me of the commandment: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” On this particular day, the entire family had gotten together for no special reason.  My grandmother, who we all called “Mother”, cooked up a lot of salmon croquet patties and fries.  In the course of our play I dropped mine on the ground.  At the same time it fell, a homeless man was walking by. (Yes, it was common practice for a couple of homeless people to walk by; Mother lived in area referred to as “the hood”.)  As I picked up the dirty sandwich to dispose of it, the man climbed Mother’s gate, stretched his hand out, and pleading for it.  I was shocked; it was filthy but I gave it to him.  He began to devour it.  My cousins and I found this so amusing we ran in and told Mother what happened.  She instantly scolded us, and began fixing a few sandwiches. She wrapped them in a towel and handed them to the man.  When she came back into the yard, she yanked a branch (not a switch well, it felt like a branch) from the tree and spanked us all! Following the aftermath of tears and wailing, I went to Mother and I asked her,” Why did we get in trouble when we fed him when he was hungry?”  She responded, “Do you eat off the ground?” I replied, “No but he’s homeless and…” She cut me off and said, “You have to love and care for people the way you would want to be loved and cared for.” In shame I walked away.  That always humbles me when I think about that day.

In these scriptures, this is exactly what James is talking about.  We have to begin to see everyone as God does… equal.  It is only then can we pour out His compassion and His love on our neighbors.  I thought I was doing what was right by giving him my unwanted food but God is asking for more than that.  When we give out of our lack or our surplus, we should give the best we have.  Then and only then do we begin to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.  What if God said, “No, I’m not going to give them the greatest sacrifice; No, I’m not going to do my best for them today” then where would we be?  Who are we to do any less than what He requires?

Mother passed away in 2009. Weeks after her burial there were numerous homeless people coming by (not aware that she died) looking for food to eat.  None of us had any knowledge that she had been feeding them.   Will you have any neighbors that are going to miss your love when you’re gone?

 Heavenly Father,
This day I ask that You show me how to open my heart up to others.  Help me to show the love of Christ to each person that I encounter today.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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