The Debt of Love

By: Kristen L. McNulty

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Many of us are at the age where we starting think about debt. Taking out a loan to go to school, to buy a car and eventually to buy a house. And in the midst of this dreaming and planning somewhere in the back of our minds we think about when these debts will finally be paid off. And then the real freedom sinks in (or so we think). The freedom to go where we want and do what we want with nothing that we owe holding us back.

But what we often don't consider is that even when the day comes that we don't owe any financial debts whatsoever, we will always have a debt to others.

Romans 13:8 says: "Pay all your debts, except the debt of love for others. You can never finish paying that!"

Let me repeat that last part: you can never finish paying off the debt of love for others. You could go on a mission trip a year. You could volunteer ten hours a week. You could spend hours a day helping others. But love for others is the debt that we all have that will never be paid in full.

So what does that mean for you and I? Does it mean that we should stop trying to love because no matter what we do it's never enough? No. It means that we should dedicate our lives to love: both loving God and loving others. Because really, after what Jesus did for us, it's not a very difficult thing to do in return.

But all too often don't we do everything but love? We make a list of spiritual things to do and think that as long as all the items on the list are crossed off by the end of the week, we're okay. But the truth of the matter is unless a love for others and God overflows from our hearts and lives, northing else we do matters.

In his letter to the Corinthians Paul wrote:

"If I could speak in any language in heaven or on earth but didn't love others, I would only be making meaningless noise like a loud gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I knew all the mysteries of the future, and knew everything about everything, but didn't love others, what good would I be? And if I had the gift of faith so that I could speak to a mountain and make it move, without love I would be no good to anybody. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn't love others, I would be of no value whatsoever."(1 Corinthians 13:1-3)

The truth of the matter is, nothing on this earth has any value whatsoever unless it is done with love. You could fast for two months, give all your money away and spend the rest of your life inside of a church, but unless you love, it's all wasted.

We need to be become a people whose eyes are so focused on God and whose hearts are so passionately after His that His thoughts become our thoughts and His ways become our ways. And when that happens suddenly spending $100 on a pair of jeans at the mall doesn't appeal to you as much as giving that $100 to the person you just passed on the street, but for who your heart is overflowed with love for. And when you walk up to that person and hand them that money, its no longer about sacrifice. Instead its about doing something that your heart wouldn't let you not do because your completely consumed with God's love.

Really living your life in such a way that your number one goal is to be loving others is a very radical thing to do in a "me first world." But if we are to be a people after God and His ways, it's the only way to live.

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This devotional was aired as a part of the Making A Difference Christian Radio Show.