The Loving Heart — Morning Devotions - Hope 103.2

The Loving Heart — Morning Devotions

Agape, is that unconquerable benevolence, that undefeatable good-will, which will never seek anything but the highest good of others.

By Chris WittsWednesday 28 Jun 2023Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 1 minute

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Robert Louis Stevenson is a name that most of us have heard of. He loved words and writing. He produced many essays, and his most popular story was Treasure Island. And as the years went by, his health became a problem and he retreated to the island of Samoa.

He got involved in local politics and was hailed a hero and a peacemaker. He built a house on a hilltop alone and without any road to reach him. 40 Samoans organised to build a road out of the jungle to reach their friend. They were very grateful for his love and friendship. And you know what? They named the road. The road of the loving heart. Have you got a loving heart? And what does that mean anyway? Surely it refers to that person who is unselfish – goes out of their way to show love and kindness to others.

The Bible Study author William Barclay says that love is the spirit in the heart that will never seek anything but the highest good of its fellow man. And I like that definition. God loved us not because we had something to offer him, but rather because he had something to offer us.

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And Jesus explains it in a way that no other person has love. He calls us to love the eternal one, your God with all your heart, with all your soul and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment, and the second is nearly as important. Love your neighbour as yourself. That’s from Matthew 22.

So the Bible says we are to love one another, and it’s obviously important to God. But can we actually do it? After all, we live in the real world where people can be difficult to get on with. It’s not all smooth sailing, dealing with others. Can you make love a priority in your life? It needs a conscious decision that today I will be unselfish, and I will make others needs a priority over my own. We live in a self-centered society.

Martin Luther King Jr’s book ‘Strength to Love’. He encouraged us to realise, and I quote from him. Our responsibility as Christians is to discover the meaning of this command and seek passionately to live it out in our daily lives. But why is love so important? Can it be about our motive? I like that story about the woman who wrote a letter to her ex and it went something like this. “Dear Jimmy, no words could ever express the great unhappiness I felt since breaking our engagement. Please say you’ll take me back. No one could ever take your place in my heart. Please forgive me. I love you. I love you. Yours forever, Maori – Ps, and by the way, congratulations on winning the state lottery.”

Well, true love has no motive like that. Thomas Aca has said it well, Whoever loves much does much. In other words, love is best shown when put into action.

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And there’s no room for hate. When I have fellowship with God, I have been forgiven. So I forgive. I’ve been loved, so I love. Living for others means putting yourself last in order to help that person.

Two men were in hospital, both seriously ill. They occupied the same room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for one hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs, and his bed was next to the only window in the room, and the other man had to spend all his time flat on his back and they built up a friendship. They’d talk for hours, and every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would describe to his roommate all the things he could see, and the other man began to live for those one-hour periods when he could have a look at all that’s going on.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. There were ducks and swans playing their children, with their model boats, and he explained it all in great detail. The other man could only lie there and close his eyes and imagine this beautiful scene.

One afternoon, the man said. There was a parade passing by, and the guy in the second bed said, “Why should he have all the pleasure of seeing everything? And I never see anything? It doesn’t seem fair.” He soon became resentful. Why couldn’t he look out the window? Late one night, as he lay staring at the ceiling, the man by the window began to cough. He was choking on the fluid in his lungs. And then there was silence. The next morning, the nurse came and found the lifeless body of the man by the window. As soon as it was appropriate, the other man said, “Can I have that bed?”

The nurse was happy to make the switch. She made him comfortable. He propped himself up on his one elbow to take a look. And what did he find? He looked out the window to a blank wall. Out of love and compassion, the dead man had pretended all this wonderful sight to help his friend. He certainly had a loving heart.

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, will you help us to have a loving heart, to be generous, unselfish and to be kind to others? For Lord, it is easy for bitterness and hardness to enter our hearts. May that not be for us today. Amen.