Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | January 3, 2019

“So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.”

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 9:46-48.

“An argument started among them as to which of them might be the greatest.  But Jesus, knowing what they were thinking in their heart, took a child and stood him by His side, and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in My name receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me;  for the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great.”  Luke 9:46-48.

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Greatness is not determined by how we are received by others.  That is, it is not whether or not others “roll out the red carpet” for us, so to speak, that determines our greatness.

Rather, greatness is determined by how we receive others.  That is, it is how we receive Jesus, His preachers and teachers, and His children that determines our greatness.

“He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.  He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward;  and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.  And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.”  Matthew 10:40-42.

Some would argue that we should treat everyone exactly the same based on the following Scriptures.

“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”  Matthew 7:12.  This is known as the “Golden Rule”.  “For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”  Galatians 5:14.

“… “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND;  AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”  Luke 10:27.

But, there is a distinction about how we treat our spiritual family and how we treat those outside the church.

First, the above Matthew 10:40-42 Scripture is similar to today’s Scripture (Luke 9:46-48).  But, we notice that at least most of Matthew 10:40-42 concerns how we receive our spiritual family (Jesus, prophets, and the righteous).

Second, we note from other Scriptures that although we should do good to all people, we owe the superior duty to the household of faith.

“So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.”  Galatians 6:10.

“But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”  1 Timothy 5:8.

Third, even within the church, priority was given to taking care of Godly widows.  “Honor widows who are widows indeed;  but if any widow has children or grandchildren, they must first learn to practice piety in regard to their own family and to make some return to their parents;  for this is acceptable in the sight of God.  Now she who is a widow indeed and who has been left alone, has fixed her hope on God and continues in entreaties and prayers night and day.  But she who gives herself to wanton pleasure is dead even while she lives.”  1 Timothy 5:3-6.

Fourth, on closer examination of Luke 10:27, we notice that we owe the superior duty of love to God above the love that we owe to our neighbor.  Accordingly, it would make sense that we would owe a superior duty of love to God’s spiritual family (Jesus, His preachers and teachers, and His children) above that we owe to those outside God’s spiritual family.

Fifth, furthermore on closer examination of Luke 10:27, we do not owe a duty to love our neighbor more than our self.  For example, if we work to support our self, then we can reasonably expect others to work to support themselves, and not feel a duty out of Luke 10:27 to support those who do not work.  As another example, if we exercise self-control, then we can reasonably expect others to do so and not feel a duty to support those, using the language of the foregoing 1 Timothy 5:6, who give themselves to “wanton pleasure”.

“For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order:  if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.  For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies.”  2 Thessalonians 3:10-11.


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