Could you imagine a world where everyone was so concerned with other people, friends, family, neighbours, strangers, that they wouldn't have time to worry about themselves? Maybe not the world, it's too in love with itself, but it is certainly God's plan for the Kingdom. Of course, you know right, that the Kingdom is already here in you and me. God has designed this Bride for his Son to have certain character and part of that character is to be occupied with the needs of others.
It is at the foundation of our relationship with God. Jesus told us not to worry about our needs but instead to seek after the things of the Kingdom. If we are busy with the Father's work then the Father is going to be busy with looking after our needs. It is like a huge "pay it forward", the original "pay it forward". Jesus said,
"Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give." (Matthew 10:8)
Freely we have received from God and what we have received freely we are to give out freely. Near the end of his days, Jesus commanded his disciples:
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." (John 13:34)
Pushing it forward. There are all kinds of things that Jesus taught that demonstrate this character of abandoning generosity. I was raised on "Do to others what you would have them do to you". I only wish I had listened. The understanding that we are responsible for each other, that we are to be "our brothers keeper", that, at whatever cost, we help each other. Not when it suits us or is convenient or when we have the finances. Right at the moment of the need, we are occupied with our brother or sister. That is the Church, the Body of Christ, never doing anything that would bring any harm to anyone else, knowing God would not be pleased with us.
So it should not surprise us to find these words in Galatians 6:
"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." (Galatians 6:2)
What is the law of Christ? To love one another as he has loved us, with self-sacrifice. Christ's love is not cheap; it cost everything. Our love cannot be cheap for one another; it must be extravagant. We are far too reserved. We should smother one another with the affection of Christ.
We have allowed this selfish, sin-centered world to change us. We have allowed tiredness to become an excuse. We have allowed our entertainment and technology to turn us into individuals when we were intended to be a body, united by the Spirit. Our cliques are too homogeneous. Our comfort zone is too small. Our vocabulary is too limited. Our experience is stunted. We have no idea how to love the lovable let alone the unlovable Jesus sent us to love.
Let`s stop making excuses for our failure to obey Jesus and at least be honest with ourselves. We have messed up.
The great news is that with God it is never too late. We can turn this thing around. With the strength and guidance of the Spirit we can be everything God has called us to be. Let`s start by turning away from the mirror. Let's instead turn to one another and love as Jesus has loved us.