Key Verses for the Week – Matthew 22:36-40 and Luke 18:35-43
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40
As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see,” he replied. Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God. Luke 18:35-43
Guiding Image for Trek #5 – Journeyer
A man was about to take a twelve-hour drive and instead of doing it alone he had agreed to give a ride to a friend of a friend he had not yet met. In his anxiousness to get on the road he arrived impatiently at the grocery store where he was to meet his traveling companion. As he looked for a parking space a person stepped out from behind a car directly into his path. Furiously he honked his horn and yelled some unpleasantries out his window. The pedestrian apologetically moved out of the way. The man parked his car, jumped out and walked to the rendezvous place, only to find that the man he had honked and yelled at was, indeed, his daylong traveling companion. A momentary impatient outburst was about to translate into hours of awkward silence.
There are two ways in which we can treat the people we encounter each day. We can consider every interchange as a static moment, an isolated engagement disconnected from any bigger picture. When we do we will be tempted to see people as either means to our own ends, or obstacles interfering with our agendas. That is the way the disciples saw the blind beggar at the side of the road.
The alternative is to see people as God sees them. That is, as fellow travelers on life’s journey. When we consider each person we meet as a co-journeyer on the same road we are traveling, our perspectives change dramatically. We can truly embrace Jesus’ command that we “love our neighbor as we love ourselves.” Just as the man in our story wishes he would have had a different attitude toward the absent-minded pedestrian, so we are commanded and called by God to treat everyone around us as brothers and sisters in whom God is working to bring about his good will and purpose. Jesus saw the blind beggar not as a nuisance, but as a child of God in need of healing and love.
How do you see the people you encounter each day? That is the question we will consider in this study and in the meditations for the week ahead.
Main Theme for Trek #5 – When our sole identity is in Jesus Christ, we are set free to love our neighbor. Instead of using relationships as means to our own ends, we can journey with our neighbor and be used by God to help set them free.
Dear Lord, I confess that too often my own agenda dominates the way in which I encounter the people around me. I become so focused on my own goals, the work I need to do and the things they need to accomplish, but I tend to see the people you put in my path as either means to my own ends or obstacles that get in the way. Lord I pray that you would give me eyes to see my neighbor as you see them. Give me a heart to love them as you love them, ears to hear their voices and hands to serve them as you lead me. Finally, give me feet to walk alongside them. As I do, they will be walking alongside me, helping me to become the person you created me to be. Lord, set me free to embrace this gift of presence and truly love the people and counter this week, and may it reflect my love for you, your love for me and the identity that I find in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is in his name we pray. Amen.