The older I get the more I want for my friends and their children. I want people to prosper and have opportunities. I want lonely people to find a loving mate that doesn't isolate them from the friendship. I want people to be healthy. When I wish someone a happy birthday I want them to have a great rich year.
On the surface that may sound like a 'humble brag'... to say I want things for others.
'Gee, What a compassionate guy he is... I just want a better life for myself most of the time.'
Here is what Jesus says about my desire to see those that are close to me prosper.
"If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them... But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful." - Luke 6:32, 35-36 ESV
The older I get the more I realize how selfish I truly am without Christ. My selfishness has just expanded to a more social selfishness. I don't want to worry about people. I don't want tragedy close to me. I want happy stories and cheerful pictures.
I read Luke 6 and I see just how ungracious and merciless I am without Christ because I don't want to love my enemies or do good to those that abuse me. I don't want to just kiss goodbye things that people take without asking. I want to be full and rich and Jesus says...
"Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you... But woe to you who are rich... Woe to you who are full... Woe to you who laugh now... Woe to you, when all people speak well of you..." - Luke 6:22a, 24a, 25a, 26a ESV
As we get older we realize that the people who care about us are more important then we thought because there really are only a few of those people and that is a sign of maturity but it is natural maturity not spiritual maturity.
Spiritual maturity is loving the ugly and unfriendly. It is helping the person who just wants to use you until the sugar runs out and then use someone else. It is seemingly throwing resources away with the hope that people who care little about you would see the God that loves them with an everlasting love.
I don't mention this to condemn anyone. I don't condemn myself. I just draw near to the fire. I cloth my nakedness with the robe of righteousness that has been given to me.
Jesus really did love the people beating Him. He gave and gave even though He often had nowhere to lay His head.
I need to be with that kind of love. I want to live my life loving like a child of the most high.
God, please fill me with your Spirit today. This can happen if you do it in me but that is the only way it can. Help God. I feel privileged to even be aware of your Love. You have lavished it on me. That is grace. Make me a merciful man today.