“A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. All men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.”
John 13:34-35 (NIV UK)
It was on a snowy evening in January when the doctor received an urgent call summoning him to perform an emergency brain surgery at Trinity Medical Centre in Birmingham, Alabama. But he was only able to drive a few streets before his car stalled in a heavy snowstorm. He made the decision to walk the rest of his journey in the biting cold. Finally, he arrived at the hospital, dried himself off and got to work.
We don’t know for certain whether this doctor was a Christian, but we can instantly recognise a powerful theme of love and self-sacrifice in the way that he responded to this crisis. Notice how nothing could stop him—neither the time of night nor the inhospitable weather—once he made up his mind. Never thinking of his own well-being, he put himself at the disposal of goodness.
As Christians, we need to ask ourselves: “What motivates us to do good for our neighbour?” One answer is obedience to the command of Christ when he said, “love your neighbour as yourself.” Christian living means serving others, but that doesn’t mean that our salvation is dependent on external goals. As the Lord makes clear through Paul, we are not justified by works, but by the mercy of God through faith in Christ. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
As Christians, any good work we do is evidence of our deep and true relationship with God. The kind of faith that leads to godly works goes beyond merely acknowledging Christ with our minds, it means putting complete trust in who God is, and letting that trust move us to feely and joyfully join him in what he is doing in the world.
The doctor performed a successful surgery and the patient was restored to full health. And, just like this surgeon, Christ, the greatest servant of all, has begun a good work in us that he is faithful to complete. As those united to Christ, let’s continue to look for opportunities to live out wholehearted Christian service.
Gracious Father, we are all inspired by men and women who have followed through with your Son’s instruction to us. Help us as individuals and as followers of You as we struggle to live up to the same commandment in our own lives. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Study by Joseph Tkach
About the Author:
Joseph Tkach is the President of Grace Communion International (the Denominational name of The Worldwide Church of God UK), and resides in California, USA. You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.wcg.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.