Today's Gospel: John 21:15-19
Here Simon Peter professes his love for Jesus three times. But we know that within days, he will betray Jesus three times. In anticipation, perhaps, Jesus seeks not words, but action. "If you love me, then you will feed and tend my sheep."
I recall plaintively asking my mother if she loved me. My mother did love me dearly, but she did not say it often, which may have been a product of her German upbringing. Maybe I was just having a particularly needy moment. I hear her answer now when I make the same reply to my own children: Don't I wash your clothes, prepare your meals, and perform an ad nauseum list of other thankless chores?
Those acts ARE expressions of love, if I allow them to be. If I go about them with resentment or resignation, they are little more than drudgery. But if looked at through the proper lens and a heart disposed to service and sacrifice, they are love.
Saying the words is important, but meaning and living them are critical. Jesus goes on to foretell the kind of death awaiting Him. One in which He willingly sacrifices Himself. And then He instructs Simon Peter and the others, "Follow me."
To submit out of cowardice or complacency is not what He seeks from us but humble sacrifice -- a total gift of self. The love in our hearts must direct our actions, and love requires nothing less than active surrender.
[Tweet "Are my actions done in loving service or out of obligation? By @cmastfalk"]
Do I do for others, especially those closest to me, out of love, obligation, or resentment?
Lord, give me the courage to follow where You lead and to love as You love by a total gift of myself for Your sake.
Copyright 2020 Carolyn Astfalk
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