“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves their neighbor has fulfilled the law..” Romans 13: 8
The only expectation God has of me is to love – freely and boldly. As a younger man, I had so often questioned whether my efforts in this world were enough for my Lord. It was as if I somehow had to return the favor so to speak. I must forgive because God has forgiven. I must sacrifice because God has sacrificed. I must give because God has given. I had this remarkably long list of things I simply had to do in order to be a good Christian. It was exhausting, quite frankly, to live up to all the expectations – until one day I realized they were my expectations, not God’s.
God has, in reality, placed but one debt upon my heart – to love all people and all creation. This debt is not levied as a means of purchasing God’s Love and Grace, for these gifts of the Sacred Heart are free. Rather, the debt to love is born of a seed intentionally sown within my soul by my Creator, cultivated by the Holy Spirit, and harvested by a world in such desperate need. I, a beloved child of God, have this debt solely because all others are also beloved children of God. It is ultimately a debt we owe to one another, not to God. In paying such a debt daily, we fill this world with a righteousness that extends far beyond our comprehension. We love, the family which we call humanity is blessed, and God gently smiles.
This love is never meant to be held close to our hearts cautiously. It is never meant to be shared only with those we know and trust. It is never meant to be used only in special situations or with certain company. Love is a gift emanating straight from God’s very Heart and Soul. It cannot be measured, for it is too great for that. Love is to be spread gloriously and boldly without bounds, for this very gift fulfills all the Divine Desires of the Lord and Creator of all the universe. Love is grand and beautiful. Love is God’s very presence. Thus, love is a continuing debt with no end, and one we are eternally grateful to pay. Amen.
-Rev Jeffrey G Mikyska (pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Elgin, IL)