I am starting to think that becoming a distinctive disciple is certainly a challenge. So far in our journey on this topic I have learned that my motivation really matters. I need to be setting my mind on things above where Jesus is seated with God. My mind must not be tuned in to earthly things and certainly not to the temporal. I need to be always thinking from an eternal perspective. Now that is a challenge!
Then I learned last week, the importance of work and dealing with the difficulties that flow from work. I spend most of my waking time employed or doing work around the house and meeting the needs of my family. It is demanding! However, I was reminded once again, that whatever I do, whether in word or deed, I am to do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. And when I do I make a difference to the lives of others!
Today, we look at the next necessary distinctive in being a disciple of Jesus. We must always remember that being ‘distinctive’ means to stand out from the crowd. We need to be different from all others – not quirky or painful or embarrassing – but unique in a positive and good way! This next distinctive is a very difficult one indeed! It is the distinctive of love. Even though it is Valentine’s Day today, I am not talking about love between a boyfriend and girlfriend or a love between a husband and wife. Whilst this is of crucial importance, and perhaps I should do a series on this type of love, for today, I am talking about love for people who are our neighbours. But who are our neighbours?
We need to know who our neighbours are and we need to come face to face with the type of love that we are required to show to these neighbours. We will explore what Paul has to say in his letters to the Romans and Corinthians. We will also touch base with John and his slant on love. However, we need to return to the second greatest commandment to set the scene for today. Jesus is not slow in providing us with teaching on how to love and therefore we will reflect on two of his most famous parables. My hope and prayer is that you will leave church today armed with a new enthusiasm to love your neighbour by knowing who they are and how to love them.