Obligated by Love

Romans 1: 14

I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish.

Of course these words were written by Paul who was a preacher, like me. He encountered what we all do, the ministry to the saints juxtaposed to the ministry to the non-saved. There is more to this than simply preaching to saved and unsaved. Of course, the message is different when addressed to those who are already saved. Beyond that, though, there is a requirement in this verse of our obligation to the unsaved. The obligation is to the educated or learned as well as to the uneducated. In other words, don’t you hear Paul calling out that the anointing of ministry obligates us to all people?

This is such an interesting discussion. Some ministers are called as evangelists to the unsaved. Others, like myself, are called to minister to the church. This verse teaches us, though, that we are all obligated on both fronts. Further, the ringing truth that I hear is that we owe the “barbarians” more than an evangelical, “sinner be saved” message. We are to love and honor them as we would our Christian siblings.

Frankly, sometimes it is easier to work with the unsaved than the Christians because they tend to be less judgmental. I have figured out that my part is to preach life to everyone and let Jesus take care of salvation. In truth, wherever I see light, I recognize the spark of Jesus because he is the light. So, that makes it easy for me to just see the person and not have to categorize them as saved, unsaved, we, them or any of those other burdensome labels.

My favorite yoga teacher calls herself an agnostic. She isn’t really but self-identity is important. None the less, there is more light, life, kindness and love flowing out of her than out of whole groups of Christians. I have no problem accepting her because she emits love overflowing. Love only comes from God because He is love. There is no other source of love. Satan certainly didn’t give her this overflowing kindness and caring. She may not know Jesus personally, right now, but she most definitely recognizes when he shows up in the room. And, she is drawn to the light in me because she recognizes that spirit of love.

So I, like Paul, have learned that our Father will not allow us to draw that line in the sand which segregates His children into the haves and have nots. Some “non-saved” people have more light in a certain area than those who have received the revelation of Jesus as the Christ. We are all on this journey to light and love and have excelled in some areas while lagging in others. What a delight it is to be allowed, and expected, to connect to the light in others while we each travel towards the ultimate revelation of Jesus as Lord. For my yoga instructor, I think when she meets Jesus face to face, she will say, “Oh, it’s you. I have known you all along. Now I am happy to get to put a face and name together with you.”

We will all shout a resounding “Glory!” when we see Jesus in person. No one will deny the truth, will be able to deny the truth of who he is. Whether one yields to his lordship or not is their choice but they will all see with their own eyes that Jesus is Lord and many who don’t currently call him “Lord” will bow their knee and joyfully worship his name. In the meantime, we are called to love and accept them all. That is the obligation of the “One Commandment,” the one thing Jesus commanded of us. Love them all. Speak life to everyone: the rich, the poor, educated, uneducated, Asians, Europeans, adults, children, saved and unsaved. This is the obligation of love.