Today we live in a society that is full of opportunities aimed at satisfying every area of life. Some of these opportunities can be good and some not so good. The truth of the matter is that with so many individual options, it can lead us to a very self-centered approach for living. When we become self-centered, we also become weak in our ability to be compassionate. A lack of compassion means “having no feelings or showing no sympathy and concern for others”. At times this can be very challenging and appear to be unfair, but fear not this is not a new spiritual dilemma. It was the same dilemma that Cain faced in his desire for his offerings to God to be more recognized than those of his brother Able (Genesis 4:1-16). The same dilemma arose for the two brothers in the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). One son wanted his inheritance from his father immediately, in order to live a wasteful life. The other son honored his Father daily, and saw to his needs. However, he became angry when his Father welcomed his brother home with a Hollywood type of reception after he had been away partying and depleting his inheritance. They were both self-centered in their actions but from different perspectives. As believers in Jesus Christ we have been shown the ultimate example of selflessness. God sent his only son, Jesus the Christ who lived a sinless life, to die for us who were born into sin, to redeem the sinful (us) in order that we be seen as righteous in the eyes of God. This was truly because of God’s grace and his mercy. We should always remember, just as the Father of the Prodigal Son welcomed his child home, our Father in Heaven celebrates when we return home to him.
Whenever we are struggling in our day-to-day activities to balance living in the world but not being of the “world”, the key is to act and respond differently than the world. Paul, Timothy and Silas left us with excellent guidance on how to do this in 1 Thessalonians 5:12 - 28. First we should show appreciation for those who diligently labor among us and have charge over us spiritually. We should esteem them very highly in love because of their work. We should live in peace with one another as well as admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, and be patient with everyone. No one should ever repay evil for evil, but always seek to do good towards all people. We should always rejoice, pray without ceasing and in everything give thanks, because this is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit or despise prophetic utterances, But examine everything carefully; holding fast to that which is good and abstain from all forms of evil. We are to pray for one another, having faith in God and greeting each other with a holy kiss. When we do these things consistently, God will sanctify us preserving our spirit, soul and body, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
But until such time, May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you and you rest in him.