Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!
Readings for September 6, 2020; Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Ezekiel 33:7-9; Psalm 32:1-7; Romans 13:1-10; Matthew 18: 1-20
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:8-10
How’s your debt load? With the stock markets in turbulent times and nations in a spending frenzy, with employment rates hitting record breaking lows and unemployment rates sky rocketing, it is no wonder our heads hurt at the thought of our personal debt loads and the future that lies ahead. Although we can get so caught up in how we are going to cover our personal needs, let alone those wants that we’ve become so accustomed to enjoying, or the expected tax increases we’ll be receiving, may our above passage offer us a distraction; an opportunity to think of things differently. In fact, may it not only be a distraction but permission to realign our priorities.
Yes, we have financial debt, and for much of the world, more than we ever thought imaginable. Oh if we were able to live debt free as the opening verse first advises, what joy, what peace. Yet, that is not the reality for so many families. We have debt, and somehow, some way, we will need to work on reducing and, one day, eliminating it. Yes, the wise will work diligently on trying to create a new normal in order to reduce their debt. However, despite our financial debt, there is a greater debt on which we can focus our attention. It is the debt to love each other.
Think about it. If we put as much thought, worry, and care into how we can help and care for those around us, as we do about how our bills will get paid, what a world we would have. What would such love look like in a pandemic? How would we treat those strangers we come across in the streets? How would we treat our spouse? our children? How would we treat those in authority that are extending recommendations for everyone’s well-being, like wearing masks and limiting contact with others?
When our thoughts go towards the debt of love that Christ paid on my behalf, on your behalf, it should turn my thoughts from my own personal desires to those needs of those around me. It changes my perspective and focus from me and my needs, to those I see and my ability to help them and to show love towards them. My current situation may not be changing anytime soon, yet I can trust that our God is true to his promises and will provide what I need. Therefore, I am free to live to help and love those around me who are struggling. These days provide many opportunities to extend love and joy, even from a distance. So may we heed Christ’s words to go and love our neighbours, and begin paying the debt of love we freely owe for all that Christ has done for us.
Prayer: Dear Lord, as you heed us not to worry about about anything, I trust you with my employment and financial situations. Help me to lighten the days of my neighbours and those people you put in my path by extending joy, assistance, and love towards them and their needs. You know their needs. Use me as your instrument of love. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!