Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.
Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.
~ Colossians 1:9-12
Sometimes it is hard to understand. I worked with someone early in my career who lavished gifts upon those who treated her poorly. And not little gifts, but things like tickets to shows, appliances, opera seats. There was no God in it, just her thinking she could bend the treatment of the others toward her favor. But she was treated well by some, and those folks she lavished maltreatment upon. I don’t think this was what God had in mind. I am sure she was just reinforcing the messages she got from her own parents, who held her brother above her always.
Trying to love one’s enemy has more to do with a condition of the heart than anything else. It is a life’s work, like carving a mountain. A Japanese stonecutter decried the mountain, and went through as series of wishes until he became the mountain, the object of his strength, only to notice a humble stone cutter cutting away at the mountain a little each day.
Ours is not to lavish with poor intent, ours is not to be someone or something else, ours is to chip away at this goal each and every day, and watch the stone fall away to reveal a shining monument to the One who made us all.
Because of Him,