Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Do you really love people?

All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

There was a married couple who were disappointed not to have children of their own but they, and the husband, in particular, always claimed that they loved children.  They enjoyed having their nephews and nieces around their home and always thought they were good with children. 

They kept their garden very nicely, and it bordered on to a golf course along which they sometimes took walks.  One summer’s day, the husband was laying a concrete path to a gate that led onto the course.  He had dug out the footings and laid the boards along each side and had hired one of those machines that squirt the concrete into the right place and then spent a long time smoothing it out until it shone like glass. It was a wonderful job, well done, and he was so pleased with his accomplishment. 

He stood back to rest and to admire his handiwork when the next-door neighbour’s little boy came through the gate and before anything could be said or done, he ran along the newly laid path.  The man shouted out in anger, and the boy stopped and turned around in the wet concrete and ran back to the gate to escape.  The man was obviously upset and his work ruined, at least in the short term, and he would have to start smoothing it out again. His wife heard him through the open kitchen window and inquired sweetly, “I thought you said you loved children”.  He replied, “I love them in the abstract but not in the concrete!”.

The little boy had literally been in the concrete as he innocently ran over the smooth surface.  The boy had not misbehaved and would not have realised what he was about to run onto, and yet he got shouted at and rushed away in horror. I have no doubt that relationships were repaired and little damage was done with everyone becoming friends again very quickly.

How easy it is to speak of loving people, of having a caring outlook, of being concerned for others' needs but too often it may be nothing more than theoretical.  In comfortable Western lifestyles, we have no idea how the impoverished of the world actually survive. We may have no desire to sacrifice for the good of others or be willing to inconvenience ourselves that those, less fortunate, might benefit.  

We may reflect that as long as the needy are far away, I can give a little money to salve my conscience, but there is no need to get my hands dirty or have my life disrupted in any way.  In amazement, we look on those who sit with the homeless on the streets, who run the soup kitchens and reach out to the destitute, the poor, the wretched and the demoralised.  Those who work in isolated places to care for the sick and go into war zones to minister to the wounded and dying.  That is real sacrifice and is all about being concerned for others and reflects the heart of love that Jesus showed to us while here on earth.

Christ came to earth from the splendour of Heaven.  He not only talked about loving us but proved it by humbling Himself and dying the horrendous death on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins.  He opened a door and says that all who trust in Him can have their sins forgiven and go one day to the splendour of Heaven, but all who are his true followers must reflect His character of sacrificial service to others and especially toward those in need.  We must not simply show love in the abstract but also in the concrete.  It is important to reflect upon such truths and see beyond ourselves.

Messages with Meaning Written by Paul Young for Your542Day


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