So this morning as I woke up knowing this computer screen would be on my to-do list today, I asked God for inspiration. In response, these words came to me:
"Who is my neighbor?"
These are very poignant words for us today. Jesus wasn't well-received by the religious leaders of his day. The words he spoke and the way he lived stood in opposition to their own life's work. They always sought out to trap him. When they asked this question, Jesus answered with a story (because Jesus was the bomb when it came to wise responses).
He told the story of the Good Samaritan. The Samaritan to the Jews was something a kin to an African American being the hero in a story told to KKK members.
Jesus' point was clear - the hero is the one who walks the heart of God.
Maybe you struggle with racism on a level that someone of color being a hero is offensive to you, but most of us aren't that extreme. The point is still there for all of us - the outward appearance, social standing, or even political leaning isn't what God sees, its the heart of someone and how they care for others.
We get so busy with our lives and forget there is a world out there in need. We are often unavailable to be used of God because we only see the things on our list, and miss the person God placed on our path with purpose.
But guess what? Your to-do list doesn't go with you when you leave this earth. God has plans for us beyond the grind of work, chores of home and errands we must run. God's plans include us connecting with all of his children.
What does that look like for you? That depends on your life and your circumstances. I am also not advocating doing it all, because you aren't responsible for it all, just what God places on your path.
It might mean keeping non-perishable sack lunches in your car to pass out as you see people along the road, or even giving away your own lunch to feed another. It might mean using your vacation days to serve a community here or abroad instead of relaxing on a beach. It might mean sacrificing your tv or book time to lend a listening ear to that person who drives you nuts but really needs a friend, or it might mean being present in the moment and seeking God and seeing what he's placed in front of you. The key is inconvenience, loving others often means putting someone else's needs in front of our own.
What do you need to sacrifice for the benefit of someone else, including those who might seem below you? Below you could be different ethnicities, but it can also be homeless, or even someone on the other side of the political spectrum.
That is where we need the most sacrifice today - loving someone in a sacrificial way who's life views seem counter to our own. I watch my social media feed as both my conservative and liberal friends trash each other, but I don't have to agree with your views to care for you.
Can we live above the standard that just keeps dropping with each year? Doing so will change the world. When loving our neighbor comes second to the top priority of loving God, we know its important to the way God wants our world to work. What are you waiting for? Get at it.