Commentary: God's loving embrace
For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings. — Proverbs 5:21 KJV
“If looks could kill...” This common phase is used often to convey our attitudes and perceptions about outward appearance. Perhaps you have used this statement or have even suffered its cruel criticism.
Looks! Appearances! We can feel warmly embraced by them or kept at a distance through their cold indifference or hateful glare.
In the gospel of Mark, a man ran up to Jesus, fell on his knees and said, “Good teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” Jesus said, “You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.”
“Teacher,” the man declared, “all these I have observed from my youth.”
“Jesus, looking at him, loved him. . . ‘One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”
The man’s face fell. His look turned away from Jesus. He went away sad became he had great wealth.
Jesus was trying to bring this man to a certain condition and position in life. Through His look, He did more than embrace this man with abundant life. He simply stated how he could find it. “Follow Me!”
But the man’s face fell. The embraceable look of love was separated. The man could not tell Jesus how he felt about Him, nor was he willing to respond to the promise that Jesus was readily providing him. By choice he looked away from Jesus. In walking away from Jesus, he discovered sadness.
Jesus Christ wants you to walk toward Life! By following Him! He is the provider of everything we need. Yet in the one who asked Jesus how to inherit eternal life and the one to whom the answer was given reflects our frequent inability to convey to God, through the expression of our feelings, our love for Him.
Jesus looked on him and loved him. But the man’s eyes fell away. He went away sad.
Jesus’ look always embraces us with love. God perceives goodness in all people. His embraceable look of love provides us with the way to a fulfilled life. The man in the story from Mark simply could not return that look. And thus the potential of life’s greatest love affair was denied.
The important affirmation to remember, however, is that while we might take our eyes off God, Jesus will always look upon us with that embraceable look of love. The man’s eyes fell away from Jesus. Jesus’ eyes fell upon him!
If you ever turn from Jesus and then come back, you will discover that He never leaves you out of His sight.
“Give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy endures forever” — Psalms 107
Thanksgiving Day is celebrated each year on the fourth Thursday of November; however, many people celebrate “everyday as a day of Thanksgiving.” Even with the severe downturn of the economy we continue to have reason to find a ray of hope for giving thanks. We at Love INC of Eagle River are thankful for the opportunity to coordinate Thanksgiving Blessing with the Food Bank of Alaska, our partner churches and the community. If you need help providing a Thanksgiving meal for your family please come to this free Thanksgiving event.
The Thanksgiving Blessing will be at Joy Lutheran Church (10111 E. Eagle River Loop Road) on Monday, Nov. 21 from 3 to 8 p.m. Our neighbors in need will be able to shop for free food to prepare their Thanksgiving meal. This year we are expecting to serve 250 families. We are seeking volunteers and if you are interested, please sign up online at: http://tinyurl.com/TBP-ER-2011
We are looking forward to being a blessing to our community.
For more information please contact Reverend Gracie Jackson, Executive Director of Love INC at (907) 250-1750.