An anthropologist was winding up several months of research in a small village, the story is told. While waiting for a ride to the airport for his return flight home, he decided to pass the time by making up a game for some children. His idea was to create a race for a basket of fruit and candy that he placed near a tree. But when he gave the signal to run, no one made a dash for the finish line. Instead the children joined hands and ran together to the tree.
When asked why they chose to run as a group rather than each racing for the prize, a little girl spoke up and said: “How could one of us be happy when all of the others are sad?” Because these children cared about each other, they wanted all to share the basket of fruit and candy.
After years of studying the law of Moses, the apostle Paul found that all of God’s laws could be summed up in one: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Gal. 5:14; see also Rom. 13:9). In Christ, Paul saw not only the reason to encourage, comfort, and care for one another but also the spiritual enablement to do it.
Because He cares for us, we care for each other.
Father, thank You for the love You shower on us day by day. Teach us, in turn, to care for others. Open our eyes to see their need and respond as You want us to.
We show our love for God when we love one another.
Paul’s words in today’s passage remind us of Jesus’s words to the young teacher of the law who asked what he needed to do to inherit eternal life (Luke 10:25–29). Love for God and neighbor is the fulfillment of all the laws of the Old Testament. In Luke, Jesus defines who our neighbor is and what love for that person should look like (vv. 30–37). Paul provides thoughts about this to the people at the church in Rome. After telling them to love their neighbor in chapter 13, he goes on to tell them in chapter 14 to consider the effect their actions will have on their neighbor. Love is to guide everything we do.