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Foundations For Our Future #77

Foundations for Our Future (77)

by: The Rev. Dr. Jon Shuler

Are We Any Different?

Today we see the Lord Jesus addressing something that is so basic that we probably almost never think about it. I call it reciprocity. Human beings are social beings. We care about belonging, even unconsciously, and much of life involves an expectation of return from those we belong to. We care for others with a hope that we will be cared for. We give to others with the same expectation. If I am in need, surely they will come to my aid.

Do you only love those who love you? Sinners do the same. Do you only greet those who are your people (“your brothers”)? Then you are no different than those who do not know God (“the Gentiles”). Where is the Lord leading us by these questions? In two short verses Jesus essentially asks us a question: “Are you no different than the unbelievers?” (Matthew 5:46,47) They do the same.

We have seen consistently that he tells us that the virtues and values of the kingdom of heaven are not those of this world. We have been learning that the call on our lives is to begin now, in this life, to embrace and internalize the values of heaven. Here we are again coming face to face with the fact that God’s love is unconditional. He does not love with a quid pro quo love. He loves though we do not love in return. He gives with no expectation of us giving in return. Is that the way we are? Or are we like everyone else?