“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” -Galatians 6:9-10
We are all aware of so much suffering connected with the pandemic. Not just the suffering from the illness itself, but people who have lost income and jobs because of the virus. How will the bills be paid? How will they keep food on the table? It warms our hearts to see the stories of everyday Americans stepping up to help their neighbors and communities.
St. Paul wrote, “As we have opportunity, let us do good to all people.” Certainly, the pandemic has presented us with endless opportunities to do good- to help other people. We ought to see this as belonging to our Christian purpose. Don’t leave it to your congregation or to professional church workers. Each one of us bears this responsibility. It really belongs to the 5th commandment, in which Luther explains in his catechism that we should not only refrain from hurting our neighbor physically, but that we should take action to help and befriend him in every bodily need.
And this taking care of one another starts at home. Paul wrote, “especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” We have a special love and bond with our brothers and sisters in Christ. What a scandal when congregations see some of their own membership in need and do nothing about it! We are taught in scripture, “We love because He first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19. It is God’s love in Christ which sets the example of love, but more than that, it is God’s love that empowers us to love. There would be no love in the world without God’s injection of his own grace.
There is no option to love only those who are loveable. Christ loved the most unloving ad the most unlovable, including those who nailed him to the cross. God’s love in us must still extend to the unloving and unlovable. They may reject your love, but your responsibility is to extend love anyway. “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” -Romans 12:18
Lord God, open our eyes to the opportunities all around us to help those less fortunate. Fill us with an urge to do so, filled with overwhelming gratitude for the love Christ has shown us on the cross. Move us to start at home; to take notice of the needs among our own congregation members, that as one body we may move forward to be a blessing to our neighborhood and community. In so doing, let us reap a mighty harvest to your glory. Amen.