Our society has become more and more individualistic. "Everyone for themselves" seems to be the modus operandi. It's all about me. It's my right.
This, however, is anything but Jesus' teaching.
Jesus says, "by this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:35). In fact, "it is better to give than to receive." (Acts 20:35)
Jesus is counter-cultural, and so should we.
As we journey through this land of "in between normals," God is challenging us to leave behind the values that belong to the old world. Instead, we pick up Kingdom values, the ones that we need for the "new normal" that God has prepared for us.
My favourite part of today's reading (Acts 11) is how Barnabas sought out and mentor a young guy named Saul. We met him two days ago.
Saul had a past and didn't have a good reputation. Many Christians were suspicious of him. But this didn't stop Barnabas from stepping in.
Now, Barnabas was based in Jerusalem. But he took the trouble of travelling over 600 miles to Tarsus, Saul's hometown, to look for Saul. (Did Barnabas own a camel?)
Barnabas sought out Paul and took him to Antioch. There, "for a whole year," Barnabas mentored him. He introduced Saul to the Christian community and helped him developed his ministry.
A few years later, this young guy Saul would become Apostle Paul, the guy who wrote half of the New Testament Bible.
No Barnabas, no Paul.
Our society glorifies "it's all about me." Not so for the Kingdom of God.
In the Kingdom "new normal," we become intentional in looking "to the interests of the others." (Philippians 2:4)
Love always points outward.
We may not be able to do much, but as Ps. Andy Stanley says, "do for one what you wish you could do for everyone."
Like Saul, I am also a beneficiary of other's sacrificial love. I am who I am today because of those people who sought me out and invested in me. I didn't deserve it. But I am grateful for what they did.
My friend, who are you blessing today?
Now, you might ask, "What's in it for me?"
Here is the answer: The beauty of your sacrificial love is that ...
Nobody will know you are the hero behind the scene! But your God in heaven knows exactly what you did in secret! You will find a kind of satisfaction that no one can explain, and your God in heaven will be smiling because of you.
So, who are you blessing today?
Who has been a blessing to you in your life? What did they do that was so meaningful to you? Who in your world can you extend help?
Prayer for Today:
I am extremely thankful for the people you have placed in my life. Many of them have played a significant role in shaping who I am today. God, I want to reciprocate and learn to pass on the blessings to other people. Please give me wisdom and insight so that I can act in a wise way.
In Jesus' name. Amen.