“Love. . .your neighbor as yourself.”

What if, next to our devotion to God, our first priority in life was taking care of each other, not merely ourselves? What if we took seriously that the second most important commandment is loving your neighbor? What if we invested in the hearts and souls of each other, and not merely our physical well-being? We tend to buy our way into each other’s affections instead of getting our hands dirty in each other’s troubles. Why are we so selfish? What if everyone around you cared about you, not just if you are sick or well, not just if you are doing well or badly in school, about you? What if everyone cared about your struggles? What if they cared about how you are feeling today?

 

For some reason work is always more important that spending time with friends. You either take your work seriously or you are a party animal. No in between. “Work before play” is where we get that. And yet when is getting down and dirty in the troubles of our companions “play”? “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?” (Proverbs 18:14) If we consistently took care of each other’s emotional and spiritual needs, how much better would all of us be able to care for our physical needs?

 

Work is so important these days. It’s all about progress. “Stop doing that hobby. You aren’t producing anything from it. Stop watching movies, they aren’t getting anything done. Don’t cry, it doesn’t accomplish anything.” The only trouble is that all of those things do produce something, and all the same thing: relaxation. We forgot what it meant to relax without being lazy. Somewhere along the way we forgot that work was always punctuated with rest. God gives His beloved sleep. (Psalm 127:2) “Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.” (Hebrews 4:1) Somewhere along the way we decided it was better to work all the time. There are workaholics or lazy people. Who is well-adjusted?

 

How many people do you know who struggle in their daily lives because they are lonely or hurting? How many people do you know who can’t seem to get their career off the ground? What happened to them to take the drive from them? And who is there to support them, to carry them through that struggle? So often we decide to cut out social time in order to spend more time working so that we can make progress in our lives. But some people cave into party animals and never work, because they can’t sustain themselves by their own strength. Where is the balance? What if instead of working constantly on our own lives, we took and interest in others? What if we stopped being selfish and said, “Here, let me take your problem and make it mine.”?

 

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