DayBreaks for 3/16/17 – The Power of Going the Second Mile

DayBreaks for 3/16/17: The Power of Going the Second Mile

Matthew 5:38-41 (ESV)“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.

Shortly after the battles ended the American Revolution, but before the peace had been negotiated, George Washington was with his troops in Newburgh, New York. But they began to grow very restless because they hadn’t been paid. Washington had begged the Continental Congress to do what they said they would do and pay the soldiers, but they refused.

Well, some of the officers began to organize a rebellion. They talked about marching on Philadelphia, which was at that time the seat of the reigning national government, and overthrowing that government and letting the army rule the nation.

With the fate of America in the balance, George Washington made a surprise appearance before these officers. After praising them for their service and thanking them for their sacrifice, he pulled from his pocket a copy of a speech that he wished to read. But then he fumbled with a paper and finally reached for a set of reading glasses-glasses those men had never seen him wear before. Washington made this simple statement: “I have already grown gray in the service of my country, and now I am going blind.”

Historian Richard Norton Smith wrote: “Instantly rebellion melted into tears. It was a galvanizing moment, and the rebellion…” and the rebellion was put down because they had seen before them a second miler.

Becoming a Christian is one thing; being a Christian is another one. Every chance you get for the glory of Jesus, for the goodness of others, and because of the grace of God, go the second mile.

PRAYER: Lord, we often resent even being asked go to one mile. Give us hearts that are willing to go not just that mile, but more, for Your glory and the benefit of others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 12/14/16 – Deformed Feet

DayBreaks for 12/14/16: Deformed Feet

From the DayBreaks archive, 2006:

Isaiah 52:7 – How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!

There are some people who capture the minds and hearts of the world.  Some do it because they have beauty (they even have pedicures or plastic surgery to make their feet pretty!) and others envy them for their looks or fame or wealth or grace.  Can you explain to me why else someone would find Donald Trump interesting???  Princess Diana captured the hearts of many while she was alive for a combination of things: she was something of a fairy-tale come true, beautiful, graceful, yet seemingly vulnerable all at the same time.  And when she died, the world was stunned, and wept. 

But then there are others who have also captured the hearts of many in the world.  They aren’t built the same way as the beautiful, statuesque Diana, or George Clooney.  They weren’t rich in this world like Donald Trump or Richard Branson.  Nor did they found a company like Bill Gates and become quite likely the richest man in history.  These run-of-the-mill people who have captured the world’s imaginations are the ones that I find to be far more fascinating than the rich, famous or beautiful.  Mother Theresa was such a person.  I think very few people envied her living conditions, her extreme poverty, the endless weight of the hungry, starving and sick of the back streets and roads of India. 

Shane Claiborne, who spent a summer in the slums of Calcutta with Mother Teresa, wrote the following about one of his experiences there:

“People often ask me what Mother Teresa was like.  Sometimes it’s like they wonder if she glowed in the dark or had a halo.  She was short, wrinkled, and precious, maybe even a little ornery—like a beautiful, wise old granny.  But there is one thing I will never forget—her feet.  Her feet were deformed.  Each morning in Mass, I would stare at them.  I wondered if she had contracted leprosy.  But I wasn’t going to ask, of course.  “Hey Mother, what’s wrong with your feet?”

“One day a sister said to us, ‘Have you noticed her feet?’  We nodded, curious.  She said: ‘Her feet are deformed because we get just enough donated shoes for everyone, and Mother does not want anyone to get stuck with the worst pair, so she digs through and finds them.  And years of doing that have deformed her feet.’  Years of loving her neighbor as herself deformed her feet.

“This is the kind of fasting that creates the divine longing for justice, where our feet become deformed by a love that places our neighbors above ourselves.”

What is your tendency when you have a lot of things to choose from?  Would you look for the best pair of shoes for yourself and give the left-overs to others?  Or, would you do like Mother Theresa and find the worst pair, take those for your own, and give the best to someone else?  I can hear my own mind rationalizing a decision to find the best for myself: “You know, you could minister better to people if your feet didn’t hurt and you could walk around more and get to more places without so much pain.” 

How are your feet looking these days?  Are they, like mine, too pretty?  Not deformed enough? 

PRAYER:  Lord Jesus, help us to be servants like You were a servant.  Help us to surrender our rationalizing and self-interest to walk in the path that you walked, for the benefit of others.  May we learn to put their interests ahead of our own that you may be glorified in them.  Give us deformed feet, Lord.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 11/09/11 – Demonstration of Divine Love

DayBreaks for 11/09/11 – Demonstration of Divine Love

We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. – 1 John 4:16

When the apostle John wrote that “God is love”, he is saying that the very nature of God is love.  Love is the very foundation of our faith and is to be the foundation of our practice of faith as lived out in the two great commandments.  Since God is love, in one sense it is literally true that Love makes the world go around, because all things consist and are held together by the one who is Love.

Sometimes we discover love in the places we would least expect it.  Mother Teresa ministered among some of the neediest people on earth – people who were literally starving to death.  She went into one hovel where she could see the hollowness of the children’s eyes and the emaciation of the parents. The family had not eaten in days.  Mother Teresa had brought a very small portion of rice to the family. When she gave the rice to the mother, the mother promptly and without hesitation, divided it into two equal parts, and then rose to leave the room. “Where are you going?” Mother Teresa asked. The woman answered “Next door they are hungry also.”

That mother did not enjoy the affluence that you and I take for granted, but she could teach us something about what it means to follow Jesus – and about the second great commandment.  If I were starving, if my children were starving, would I be so generous and loving?  Or would I have kept it all for myself?

Well, I’m not that woman, I’m not in that circumstance.  Instead, I’ve got food aplenty.  But there are people who won’t have food tonight.  Will I give them anything and demonstrate the reality of Divine Love to the world?

PRAYER: Lord, we are so selfish and ignorant – perhaps willingly so – to the great pain and need in the world.  Forgive us.  Let us demonstrate Your love to those in need.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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