God is gracious.
I took my youngest son to Goodwill today to shop for Back-to-School clothes. He needed everything, because he hit a growth spurt this summer. He did great–he was able to get nearly everything he needs minus jeans, jacket and shoes for only $51. I was very proud of him.
More than that, I was so grateful to be able to provide them for him, by God’s grace. For the past 3 years, we have been blessed by so many people with giving spirits who provided clothes for my crew–passing me their outgrown clothes, most of them like new. This has been a tremendous gift to our family. I would not have been able to clothe my kids without their help. And I still welcome and appreciate any second-hand clothing, tremendously so.
But it was also nice to be finally in a position to be able to purchase clothes to meet my kid’s needs. It’s an example of God’s favor, because He has provided me a job, which I am also so grateful for.
I love the GoodWill store. It’s smart shopping, and the name is perfect. Good Will. But “Good Will” is something very different from “love”. We can have “Good Will” toward people, but God expects so much more. It brought to my mind a passage in Romans 13 today:
Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
This is a tough passage to swallow. Because it does not leave love as an option. At all. It commands it. It tells us to owe no one anything, except to love each other. We owe each other love.
Stop and think about this with me a second. This passage says that the commandments–the one’s listed as well as “any other commandment” are summed up by “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” And we’ve all asked the question “Who’s my neighbor?”, when we know in our soul that our neighbor is everyone. Even the person who has done you wrong. Even the person who has hurt you. This is very hard to swallow. This is very hard for me to swallow.
I’ve read this passage before, but I’ve never really noticed verse 10: “Love does no wrong to a neighbor, therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” But I thought Christ was the fulfillment of the law? Yes. But Christ is also love. God is love. So it is love that fulfills the law. That’s amazing to me!
I titled this post “Living Well”. Because I want to live well. And you want to live well. I know I am always in a quest to “improve” life—improve organization, learn money and time saving techniques, looking for books that will teach me, and lately changing my eating and exercise habits to become healthier. I want to live well, and all these things are good and right.
But what if I put as much energy as I put into these things–into loving others well. Loving my family well. Loving my friends well. Loving those that I don’t know well. And loving those who may not love me well?
I’m not saying this is easy. If it was easy, Jesus, Paul and other’s would not have spent so much time emphasizing it. But life is short–isn’t it better to live a life of love than one of bitterness, hatred, jealousy or indifference?
Isn’t Living Well actually Loving Well?