5Beloved, you are acting faithfully in whatever you accomplish for the brethren, and especially when they are strangers;
6and they have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God.
7For they went out for the sake of the Name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles.
8Therefore we ought to support such men, so that we may be fellow workers with the truth.
As I read today’s passage, I can’t help chuckle at God’s irony. I pretty much got the same lesson from a book I am reading today: Loving others. This is what Christ said is one of the most important commandments, second to loving God Himself.
We’ve talked about supporting and loving Christians alike, as family. Verse 5, however touches on the treating of strangers. Too often we look with disdain on “outsiders”. That is not at all how we are supposed to act. I try not to forget what our pastor taught us once, “love people into the Kingdom.” In other words, don’t be a “bible thumper” or extremist. That does nothing but push people away. Frankly, I wouldn’t want to associate with a religion that tried to guilt me or fear me into believing either! Rather, we are to exemplify Christ’s love which causes nonbelievers to want to question and investigate.
What if you aren’t a believer. What should you think then? If you’re reading this all I can say is that if it is not of the bible, it is not of Christ. This includes the all-too-common misquoting of the bible out of context. It is actually why I started this devotional in the first place. Not that memorizing bible verses is bad, but slinging one liners never got anyone anywhere, especially when they are misapplied.
The bible is a book of love. Every story in the bible is centered around it and is meant to exemplify God’s will for us. None of us are perfect in it, but we are perfected through His love. To accept Him is to love Him back. Once we figure out how to love Him, we can love others.
How much love would others say you have…if at all?