Simple Love

Read: Hebrews 13:1-7

Let mutual love continue. (v. 1 NRSV)

When I had two children in elementary school, I was constantly signing student homework planners to keep track of what was happening in class and receiving quarterly reports of all of the assignments my kids had or hadn’t turned in. Report cards came home regularly to tell me my kids’ grades. And then there was extra credit to boost their grade if we weren’t satisfied.

Sometimes we treat following Jesus like earning a grade. We constantly wonder if we’ve done enough to get an A. If I’ve donated canned goods to a local food pantry this month, do I have to serve at the soup kitchen as well? I know I’m supposed to love my enemies, but what about the person who told a nasty rumor about me? We’re like Peter asking Jesus, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive?” (Matt. 18:21 NRSV).

The author of Hebrews reminds us to keep it simple. Don’t worry about keeping score—just love! We might actually want a grade because it tells us where we stand. But for God, it’s not about the grade, it’s about the heart. God wants us to love freely, because we have been loved (1 John 4:19). Instead of asking if you’ve done enough, ask yourself where God is giving you an opportunity to show love to others: remember those in prison, show hospitality, be content with what you have—but all of those things spring from one simple command: love.

As you pray, ask the Lord to show you how you can love more.

About the Author

Jennifer Petersen is an ordained minister in the Reformed Church in America.

This entry is part 14 of 16 in the series Hebrews: Living in Faith