It was nice to see everyone outside working away but after a while I realised that we were all working on our own pile separately.
Reference: v.35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. (NIV Bible)
Explore: Living in a newly built area there is still much work to be done on all of our homes. The other weekend one of my neighbours organised for four of the households to buy a big truck of soil. The soil was dumped out the front of our houses and we all started shovelling the soil into wheelbarrows and dispersing it around our gardens. It was nice to see everyone outside working away but after a while I realised that we were all working on our own pile separately. That was accepted by everyone as we all had our own task to complete and there was no expectation that we should help each other. But I thought, imagine the difference I could make if I started helping someone else. They could see that I still had a big pile of soil to deal with myself but wouldn't it speak volumes to them if I put my own pile of soil second and put their pile first. So, I grabbed my wheelbarrow and started to help my neighbour. He protested at first but had been unwell all weekend and so pretty soon relented and allowed me to help. Finally their piles of soil had been dispersed and we had a great chat and a long drink together. When I went back to my garden my pile of dirt was still there waiting for me. If I had decided not to help the others I would have been inside by now and my neighbours would not have thought badly of me. But instead I had decided to exceed their expectations and assist them rather than putting my own needs first.
Application: Jesus' love went beyond expectations. The way He dealt with those on the margins, the unlovable and the rejected was amazing. It went beyond everyone's expectations. But He calls for us to do the same. It means that we often have to work harder – just like me shovelling everyone else's soil first – but the impact that our love can show can be everlasting.
Prayer: Lord, make us aware of where we can act beyond expectations and may we show Your love to all. Amen.
Think of someone who would benefit from your assistance/love. Go beyond the expectations and put it into practice.
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This article was written by Linda Bailey
Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.