I am not too sure that I have met anyone who yielded pomp and power and was liked. I would like to say that favour is not obtained by wealth and I think that is true. I am almost absolute in believing that love is not commanded by authority or even dignity. I think there is an element of goodness found in each arena but violence has no room when it comes to being righteous. That is not to say that righteous people are all loved, but rather there is a love for the well-being of those who are righteous.
When the righteous thrive, a city rejoices,
and when the wicked die, there is joyful shouting.
A city is built up by the blessing of the upright,
but it is torn down by the mouth of the wicked. – Proverbs 11:10-11 HCSB
So when I reflect on who I am and my purpose I find myself reflecting on my identity and calling to lead, however, not on my own, but rather with God. I know that I am weak – how can I not? One look at the stars on a clear evening sky ensures that, yet not one second later, God seems to be whispering in my ear that He is pleased to walk with me and share His glory with me.
What is man that You remember him,
the son of man that You look after him?
You made him little less than God[c][d]
and crowned him with glory and honor. – Psalm 8:4-5 HCSB
That is why Paul is so keen to straighten us up. His world was all about earthly power. The Christians were wise to stay away from persecution by paying their taxes, doing what was good, and be subordinate to authorities established by God. But this is what warms my heart and strengthens my soul – Paul wanted those like me to acknowledge the debt of love I owed to other followers of Jesus – Paul turned the laws of the Roman State on their head.
Do not owe anyone anything,[b] except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments:
Do not commit adultery;
do not murder;
do not steal;[c]
do not covet;[d]
and whatever other commandment—all are summed up by this: Love your neighbor as yourself.[e]
Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Love, therefore, is the fulfillment of the law. – Romans 13:8-10 HCSB
How easy it is for me, when chaos strikes the world, to forget about the debt of love I owe to my brothers and sisters in Christ.
The Gospel calls me to love my neighbour and this comes from the debt of love prescribed by Paul.
I am challenged once again, as I have been so many times in the Old and New Testament, on the one most important commandment. I believe we call it The Great Commandment – Love God, Love People.
Father, my head knows how powerful love is, my heart knows how hard that is to do. I do believe that love can change not only my life, but my family’s, my workplace, my church and my neighbourhood. How does that look in my life? How can I be seen standing with You and still be relevant? I know what others think is normal is not normal to You – You ask more from me and You ask me to give my all, just like Jesus did. Teach me every day on how to love You, healthily and then from a place of health, teach me to love others. Thank you.