Of course, you can’t “fall into” this kind of love; it takes a conscious act of the will. But so does demonstrating love to others around us who are more neutral.
Today we look at the energy required for this kind of involvement—and the rewards promised.
Interact with God’s Word
- Being kind and thoughtful to your family and friends requires a fair amount of effort. Do Jesus’ words in verses 32-33 seem harsh?
- Does expecting you to extend your favors to those who are hostile or demanding (v. 30) seem reasonable?
- How does the “golden rule” (v. 31) move beyond the usual belief that you should avoid harming others?
- According to verse 36, does the requirement that you care for others in this way depend on whether they deserve it? What is it based on?
- Would you describe your level of caring and giving as a small or large measure (v. 38)?
- Have you experienced the payback for investing in others’ lives that Jesus described? Can you give an example?
Spend Time in Prayer: Ask God to expand your willingness to deliberately invest in others, and your joy in seeing fruit in their lives.
30 “Give what you have to anyone who asks you for it; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. 31 Do for others as you would like them to do for you. 32 Do you think you deserve credit merely for loving those who love you? Even the sinners do that!
33 And if you do good only to those who do good to you, is that so wonderful? Even sinners do that much! 34 And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, what good is that? Even sinners will lend to their own kind for a full return.
36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.
38 If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving—large or small—it will be used to measure what is given back to you.”