Two Paths Converging
edited: Monday, February 18, 2002
By Marcia L Laycock
Posted: Monday, February 18, 2002
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Two Speakers seemed to be on two different paths, yet their perspectives converge in Christ.
The speaker leaned toward his audience, the intensity in his voice mirrored in body language. He talked about the scriptures in which we are told to feed the hungry, care for the widows, clothe the poor. The man’s hand shook as he pointed. “There’s a booth out in the lobby,” he said, “with pictures of kids who need food and clothing. You go out there and pick a kid!” He quoted more scripture, then his voice grew more quiet. “On judgement day, when you stand before God, it will be a good idea to have a kid beside you.” It worked. People wanting to “pick a kid” swarmed the booth.
The next speaker was much more soft spoken, but no less intense. His thesis was the unconditional love of God. “You don’t have to do anything,” he said, “the Father, your Daddy, loves you, no matter what.” I relaxed into the comfortable theatre seat. This preacher didn’t make me feel guilty, his words just made me weep. He described the astonishing love of God, the God who loved him no more today, as a respected preacher, than the day, years ago, when he collapsed, a drunken derelict on the street. It doesn’t matter what you do or don’t do, he emphasized, God still loves you.
As the day drew to a close, I pondered the words of these two well-respected preachers, both Biblically literate scholars. Who was right? I leaned strongly toward the one who preached unconditional love, but the scripture quoted by the other one would not go away. God did command us to care for one another – that’s one of the “big 10,” one of the most important, Jesus said. As I’ve pondered them, I’ve realized the two views are not as opposite as they might appear. Though the one seems rooted in obtaining God’s approval, it is really rooted in God’s love for us.
It is for love that God commanded us to love, not so our efforts will please Him on judgement day, but so that we will look into His eyes and recognize the depth of that love, because we have been practicing it ourselves. As we love others in obedience and thankfulness to God, we grow more like Him in that very aspect. The more we love, the more we recognize the outrageous love of the Father, the more we are blessed in the true st sense of that word, the more we mirror Him.
When asked, “And who is my neighbour?” Jesus launched into the story of the Good Samaritan. Then he said, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:25-37). Haddon Robinson defines “my neighbour” as anyone whose need you see and are in a position to meet. When we stand before God on judgement day, may we not have just one kid there beside us, but an army of neighbours. We will then dwell in the richness of the love of Christ.