“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.” – Galatians 5:13-15
Freedom. Liberty. Love. Service.
These words can evoke many different feelings and thoughts. Paul reminds us that Jesus summed up all the commandments by instructing us to love our neighbors as ourselves. We are only able to do this as He empowers us. Jesus freely gave His life for us and showed us consistently how to love and serve others while He walked this earth. As a traveling evangelist, Paul certainly experienced times of unrest and knew how to serve various groups of people. In 1 Corinthians 9:19, he states, “For though I be free from all men, yet I have made myself a servant unto all, that I might gain the more” (KJV).
You may ask, “Who is our neighbor?” In Strong’s commentary, neighbor is defined as “near, neighboring, friend, any other person. Any other man/woman irrespective of race or religion with whom we live or chance to meet.” Even in these times, we all have people in our lives who meet these criteria. One of my “church grandkids” was moved by the many homeless people he saw as we drove around Raleigh. We talked and prayed about homelessness and then made kits to be able to hand out when we see people on the street. As he made cards, he shared the love of Christ.
With restrictions in place, our occasions to serve others in all areas have changed. This doesn’t mean the opportunities are no longer there. On the contrary, the Lord continues to provide many instances for us to love others in our lives as Christ loves us. Without so many activities and prior obligations to distract us, we might be free to be present in ways we couldn’t or didn’t prior to COVID.
How are we using the time and freedom we have from our previous commitments? What are some ways to creatively love and serve those in our community and world?
Father, open our eyes to see others as you see them and to love sacrificially. Amen