…through love serve one another.
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
We each have plenty of personal responsibility — lots to carry ourselves, so to speak. So how can we fulfill God’s design of loving each other, serving and carrying burdens?
Keep an eye out
For myself, I’ve had to realize that the hardest part is seeing an opportunity. There’s plenty to do, stuff I truly need to do. It takes effort to take my eyes off of those things and also make time and space for others. It is important to keep my eyes open and really see those around me. Is a coworker coming into the office (or a video conference) looking overwhelmed? Is the neighbor who faithfully walks every morning absent for the last two days? Is a child struggling with social connections?
Elementary, but so powerful. We may often start the day with prayer for ourselves and our needs, but did we also pray for our coworkers and their success? A problem shared with us may not have any possible response other than a listening ear and a promise to pray; that promise is easy to give and important to keep.
Margin for service
If there is no time to ever help anyone, perhaps the schedule needs to change. Margin makes time to respond as we see people or as things happen. A day that is not crammed full, every minute, lets us fit in acts of service, big and little.
Share the load
We ARE in this together. God created community, and we benefit from it. Encourage a friend in good works, and you will likely receive similar encouragement back. Team up with friends to help another friend. Many hands make light work. Seek out people who will help you get better at seeing and serving others.
There are so many more ways to love each other. What helps you?
Our first calf was born on our beef cattle farm! It was an exciting time, to be sure. In multiple conversations, we talked about the role of the calf and the worth of the bull. The heifer calf will be traded or sold once she is weaned. Since she came from our bull, that will prevent in-breeding. The bull was raised on our farm, so we have been eagerly awaiting his growth and then production. Once he was grown, the gestation period is 9 months, so it seemed like a long wait at times. But now that we know, future calves will be kept if male and moved on if female.
Thinking about this process made me think about living in community. We have built-in encouragement to be inter-dependent and reach outside ourselves. We don’t need those heifers, but someone else does. Trading or selling is a win-win.
Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them,
“Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.”
God gave directions to Noah after the Flood. He wanted the earth filled by Noah’s descendants. He wanted growth and prosperity. At one point (Genesis 11), those descendants decided otherwise. They wanted to build a city and settle in and make themselves great and sufficient. God confused the languages and scattered them again.
It is a human tendency to withdraw into ourselves, to silo, to build a moat around our castle. God helps us with natural reasons against that trend, like confusing languages or designing the results of in-breeding. If we think that we can run a herd all by ourselves — no help from others, no fresh infusion of stock — soon we will not have a healthy herd. Not the best plan!
We have no plans, nor are we tempted, to manage our cattle that way. But this makes me think about where I do have the tendency to live against God’s design. Where am I resisting community? Am I bringing unpleasant consequences on myself by not actively loving my neighbor? Where am I thinking I am all I need in myself?