“What must I do to inherit eternal life?” (v. 25). The man knows the answer before he asks the question. It’s written in the law he loves.
Jesus answers, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself. Do this,” Jesus tells him, “and you will live” (vv. 25-28). But the lawyer wants a list of customized details. He recites the right answer, but having the right words isn’t anywhere close to giving them life. Knowing the answers might make us feel self-confident, but they lead us nowhere unless we take the next step and embody the truth we know.
“Do this,” Jesus tells us, “and you will live.” Doing love is the step beyond knowing it. Doing love means devoting ourselves to becoming people in whom the way of Jesus takes deep root. If we commit to follow, Christ will guide us to live in a love that will sometimes call us to vulnerable acts of compassion.
On Juneteenth 2020, a rising-fifth grader from our church named Rory and five of her friends organized a grand effort for their neighbors called “Lemonade for Love,” In the late afternoon Texas heat, they wore their masks, sold lemonade for 50 cents a cup, and raised over $4200 for the local NAACP. When a reporter asked the girls why they did this, Rory said, “We all kind of grew up with the perspective that we are treated equally, so when people were being treated unfairly because of their race we wanted to speak out and make a change.”
Doing love changes the world. It gives life to us, and to our neighbors.
How have your thoughts and questions about “doing love” changed through the years? What has stayed the same? Who taught you to embody love when you were a child? Who are your teachers now?
God, stretch my mind. Enlarge my heart. No matter how old I am, help me love my neighbors more and more. Amen.