My wife, Jenna, asked me today what it was I wanted to accomplish in my 29th year on this planet. It was an appropriate birthday question and I wanted to give it a serious response. I paused for a moment, and then I answered, “I want to love my fellow man more.” My wife then asked my how it was that I planned on doing that. I would like to share what went through my mind while I contemplated this follow-up question.
Whatever capacity I have to love at this point is only due to the fact that my Father has given me the power to know good. By my own will, I have tried to share what I know to be good but my weaknesses often hinder my intentions. This is why I know enough to acknowledge that my will is not enough, and that it is only by the power of God that others can benefit from my efforts. So that only by His power I came to know Good, and only by His power do others come to know Good.
Therefore, if I am to accomplish what I have set out in my heart to do when I answered my wife’s first question I must know God better. That I may know of His goodness to a greater degree than what I know now and that I may know His will for me that I may not resist it but rather carry it out according to His grace. It is in this line of thinking that the correlation between the two greatest commandments becomes self evident. So how can I learn of God’s goodness more than what I do now?
I consider myself to be a faithful disciple of Christ but only so far as convenience is concerned. I am like the rich man who does all good things but is unwilling to take the final step and give away his riches. Within the realm of the rich man’s comfort, he is capable of doing good works among men but when Jesus asks him to forgo the worldly security for spiritual security the rich man finds it hard to oblige. I find myself in a similar pattern, not that I am a wealthy man, but rather I am unwilling to go outside of social and cultural norms to demonstrate love for my fellow man.
A while back, I noticed a woman weeping in the parking lot. My heart wanted to reach out to her but I told myself to mind my own business; she did not want me to interfere. As I got in my car and drove away I felt like such a coward. It is possible that she could have told me to mind my own business but maybe she needed someone, anyone, to talk to and I did not give her the opportunity for fear of being rejected.
This year, I will not shirk from the hard time. As prompted, I will open my hand and my arms and my heart to those around me. I will share the burden of others and by doing so I hope to learn of God’s goodness to a greater degree than I known in the past. This year, my prayer is that I will have the courage to walk outside my comfort zone that I may comfort another soul.