DayBreaks for 01/09/14 – Drawing Circles
John 3:16 (NLT) For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
A Lutheran minister by the name of Roy Lloyd once interviewed Mother Teresa. He said that one of his questions and one of her answers stands out in his mind as “a bright sun burning in my mind.” He asked her, “What’s the biggest problem in the world today?”
Now, before we get to her answer, stop right here and think about how YOU would answer that question. What would your reply be? Would it be greed? Injustice? Terrorism? Moral decline? Prejudice? Too much tolerance? Not enough tolerance? Relativism? Post-modernism? A wrong worldview? Drugs? Violence? Oppression? Humanism?
To be sure, with all that we see and hear about that goes on around the world each day, there are hundreds of possible answers – and those answers may change from day-to-day given that day’s news.
This is what makes Mother Theresa’s answer so startling, so jolting. When asked that question, her response, without hesitation, was this: “The biggest problem in the world today is that we draw the circle of our family too small. We need to draw it larger every day.”
Do you see what she’s saying? She is saying that the problem is not so much with the world as it is with us. We need to see more people as our neighbor than we are currently do. We need to love the world as we love our dearest family. I suspect very few can honestly say that this is a kind of love which they have mastered, or even attempted. We spend most of our time drawing circles that are restrictive, not expansive. The circles we draw are more like fences to keep others out. Fences are hard to move once they are constructed. We need to not draw circles of exclusion, but of inclusion.
In a way, with Jesus’ baptism, he was doing this: in his baptism he included us in his righteousness, identified with us in our humanity and our need to be cleansed, and our need to be made pure. Through this act, and through his live and love, he was drawing the circle of god’s family larger and he now invites us to do the same.
PRAYER: It is so easy for us, Lord, to blame the world for all that is wrong when the problem lies within us for having failed to love others enough to draw them into your family. Fill our hearts with the love You have for the world. Create in us the same desire you have to see all people from every nation, tribe and tongue, come into your family! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple.
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