Jesus' rule of gold - 19 March 2021
By Louise Gevers
How are you at giving good gifts? A gift, whether big or small, is a delight because it is freely given to bring someone joy; it unlocks a generosity of spirit for another. Meanness of heart inhibits us and obstructs our doing the “good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)
Saying grace before a meal is a very important way of bringing to mind the immeasurable gifts that we receive and enjoy from God daily, and have done all our lives. Without food we would not have our health and strength to be able to appreciate anything else; so acknowledging God daily and showing gratitude for His goodness is necessarily substantial.
God is perfect. His gifts often go far beyond our ability to appreciate. They are for all people everywhere and He doesn’t show favouritism. Jesus explains God’s fairness: “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?” (Matthew 5:44-46)
Unsurprisingly, Jesus’ challenging teaching leads into His clarification of the Golden Rule at this point. God has created all people in His image and wants them to care about one another as He cares for them, so that everyone can live together cordially and benefit from His gifts. The Israelites had failed to keep the Law and had not listened to His messengers, the prophets, but God still wanted them to learn to follow His example as His children, through His Son.
To live the Golden Rule, it is necessary to think of the effect of our actions on others, and put ourselves “into someone else’s shoes” to know how we would feel in their place; and then treat them as well as we would like to be treated ourselves. This also accomplishes Jesus’ injunction “to love your neighbour as yourself” (Mark12:31). This basic principle does exist in other religions, but in the negative form, as the ethic of reciprocity, but Jesus’ positive emphasis indicates the enthusiastic response He calls for from His followers.
What Jesus explains in these verses is that this simple principle embodies the teaching of the whole law and the prophets which God had put in place to teach humankind to treat one another with kindness and respect. If we don’t embrace the Golden Rule we, too, are responsible for the breakdown in our society. Caring about others is as important as caring for ourselves.
Will we embrace this Golden Rule?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, open my eyes to see how amazingly our Father so often provides gifts that I need long before I even think to ask Him. Help me to see that how I receive this love in action will always make an impact on anything I do. Help me to be like our Father in heaven in how I live in His world and to love others sacrificially as You have shown us. Amen