The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.’ (v39) Acts 2:39–41
In the past, I’ve made the mistake of assuming the Christian life about my personal development. Remarkably, in an increasingly self-absorbed society, Christian discipleship can easily become an end in itself, rather than the path along which I travel ever deeper into God’s embrace.
Archbishop Temple stated that the Church was the only society existing entirely for the benefit of its non-members. It’s why Jesus tells us to love our neighbours to the degree that we love ourselves and Paul encourages us to put the interests of others above our own. That is counter-cultural today.
Personal tragedy hijacked my life but that demanded I face up to who I was, and, most importantly, who Jesus really is. I am grateful that a period of personal pain gave birth to a life of prayer and devotion to God. I hate to think how pompous and self-referential I’d have been today without this God interrupting me in this way.
The joy of Jesus’ message of love and hope is that no-one is excluded. However, no-one knows this reality until and unless we, the Christian community, share it with them through our lives as much as our words.
Words come all too easily to me; life choices involving generosity, kindness and care require effort. I’m not always in that frame of mind. I want to take care of myself, yet God reminds us that all our needs have been catered for through redemption. Dare we live like this?
Related Scripture to Consider: Lev. 19:9–19; Luke 10:25–37; Lev. 19:33–34; James 1:22–27.
An Action to Take: ‘The first question the priest and the Levite asked was: “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But the good Samaritan reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help, what will happen to this man?”’ Think about your response to this Martin Luther King quote.
A Prayer to Make: ‘Lord, help me to love my neighbour as I love myself, and put their interests ahead of my own. Amen.’
Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.
Photo by Melissa Askew on Unsplash