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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Caught or Taught

Do good wherever you go. After a while, the good you do will come back to you. 
(Ecclesiastes 11:1 ERV)

From the time I was a kid, I have heard the "golden rule" preached in many different forms, but as many times as it has been "preached" or "taught", it doesn't really "ring true" until I see it demonstrated in the life of another. I think this is how Jesus taught - he showed his love - he didn't just talk about it. He could have said his love was never ending, but until Peter realized his repeated and consistent mess ups didn't affect how much Jesus loved him, he really didn't understand the "rule". He could have smitten each every one of those who spat upon him, beat him, or even shot words of ridicule his way as he went to the cross, but he chose to forgive them, modeling for us how monumentally huge his love is for us. The "rule" is caught more than it is taught!

Looking again at our passage, notice that it never implies we do good to get good. It reminds us we just do good wherever we go. In turn, we will reap what we sow - but we don't sow with the ultimate intent of reaping in this case. We sow because it is the right thing to do! Jesus taught it this way:

- If a man needs a loaf of bread, don't give him a stone - meet the true need of his stomach's ache and in it you will meet the need of his heart's ache, as well.

- If he needs a coal to light his fire, don't send him away because of the inconvenient hour at which he seeks the coal. Invite him in, heap coals into his pot and send him away warmed and with what he needs to care for his needs.

- If he cannot see his way to your door to seek forgiveness for an offense, make a pathway to his door. Extend yourself beyond your comfort zone and don't allow any distance to become too great to bring reconciliation.

- If a man cannot see his way free of a burden he bears, come alongside him and lend him the hand to bear that burden - no matter how far that takes you out of your way. 

Our passage doesn't say we get an instant blessing from having done a little good in this world, but it does promise us it will "return to us" somehow. If not in the here and now, it will someday. Just be faithful. Jesus modeled the "rule" - he didn't just preach it. Maybe our greatest hope is to begin to model what we believe and have been taught! Just sayin!