Once a church had fallen upon hard times. Only five members were left: the pastor and four others. In the mountains near the church there lived a retired bishop. It occurred to the pastor to ask the bishop if he could offer any advice that might save the church. The pastor and the bishop spoke at length, but, when asked for advice, the bishop simply responded by saying, “I have no advice to give. The only thing I can tell you is that the Messiah is one of you."
The pastor, returning to the church, told the church members what the bishop had said. In the months that followed, the church members pondered the words of the bishop. "Is the Messiah one of us?" they each asked themselves. As they thought about this possibility they all began to treat each other with extraordinary respect on the off-chance that one among them might really be the Messiah. And, on the remote chance that each member himself might be the Messiah, they also began to treat themselves with extraordinary care.
As time went by, people visiting the church noticed the aura of respect and gentle kindness that surrounded the five members of the small church. Hardly knowing why more people began to come back to the church. They began to bring their friends, and their friends brought more friends. Within a few years the small church had once again become a thriving church, thanks to the bishop's gift.
Paul, writing to the Roman church, emphasised love and unity among the Brethren. In Romans 12:10 he said ‘Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves’. The world is watching and looking at the Church. We are God's ambassadors on earth. We represent the nature of His Kingdom on this planet. The letter of Paul to the Hebrews, Chapter 12, says that we are surrounded by a great crowd of witnesses. The moment you confess your relationship with the Lord to the world then eyes are on you! This church was changed because the attitude towards one another had changed.
When we love, honour and prefer one another the light of Christ shines brighter in a dark world. We are a city set on a hill that cannot be hidden; a lampstand on a table.
Jesus told His followers, 'If you love one another, the world will know you are my dIsciples'. The proof of being disciples of Jesus is the love we are to have for one another.
Let your desire be to prefer another person over yourself. Sometimes it’s easier to look down on others rather than preferring them over ourselves. The only way we can truly achieve this is by seeing others as God sees them, and not with a worldly or fleshly view. It’s when we understand that God loves our neighbour as much as us, and that in the same way He loves the poor, the homeless, the down-trodden, the sinner, the children and every single person that we can honour everyone whom He has created.
Prayer: Lord help me to love as You have loved. Help me to keep the unity of Your Body as I prefer others over myself. Teach me to look at the people I meet with Your eyes and with Your love. Help me to treat everyone in the right way. Thank You I can shine this small light of mine, and when we all shine the light it will be a bigger light to the dark world, Amen.
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