May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all. 1 Thessalonians 3:12
My capacity to give and receive love dips and rises and mostly seems to plateau at a level that feels most comfortable for me. What would it feel like to continually increase in love, to greet the world and everyone in it with an abundance of joy, compassion, kindness, respect, encouragement, and delight?
Today I will ask God to widen and deepen my heart to increase my capacity for love.
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Mark 13:31-32
The words of Jesus — love of God, neighbor, and self — will not pass away.
Today if I am frightened, worried, or distressed by events in the world, I will remember that God is in charge. I will nurture love and kindness in my heart so that my words, actions, attitudes, and behaviors may reassure others of God’s holy, lasting, and love-filled presence.
[Jesus said to them,] “For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve.” Mark 10:45
Service can be as simple as lending a hand. Listening without interrupting. Smiling a welcome. Allowing someone to help. Being present to someone who is grieving. Encouraging someone in a new endeavor. Bringing an item to the food pantry. Picking up litter. Sending a note to a friend. Visiting someone who is lonely. Thanking someone for being there.
We know how to serve. The goodness and compassion in our hearts show us the way.
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” Mark 10:23
When I suddenly went from having $13 in my savings account to having a lot more, I noticed I no longer felt ashamed at the bank, but stood straighter, looked the tellers in the eye, and felt more self-confident and self-reliant. This change made me wonder: Had I made money my god?
The kingdom of God is a place of vulnerability, not self-reliance. It is a place where I put my trust in the goodness of God, where I surrender my life and will to God’s gentle, compassionate care, and where I draw courage and confidence from God’s all-wise strength. The kingdom of God is where I find God’s kindness and love in the people I meet, where I offer help to those in need when I am able, and where I am not ashamed to ask for help when I am in need.
[Jesus said,] ““Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Mark 10:14
Children are infinitely precious, innocent, and fragile. To mentor and care for children so that they maintain healthy self-esteem and develop compassion and a sense of personal responsibility is the most difficult—and rewarding—work an adult could have.
Today I will remember that children are a gift to cherish and protect. I will let the children in my life teach me to be aware of the joy of unconditional love. I will find opportunities to help children in need.