"There is a saying,'Love your friends and hate your enemies.' But I say, Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way you will be acting as true sons of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust too. If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even scoundrels do that much. If you are friendly only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even the heathen do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect." Matthew 5: 43-48 (TLB)
Paul Benjamin lives in New Jersey. They had just planted a few vegetable seedlings when their town had continuous cold and rainy days for a week. Tender sprouts of green beans were just peeking out of the ground. But because of the cold weather, nothing showed any sign of further growth. Sadly, some leaves were even curling up due to the cold spell in the middle of spring. Paul was concerned about his garden. Would it survive without the warmth of the sun?
As Paul looked out one morning, the sun was shining and the birds were singing! Surely the day looks different, Paul thought. He stepped out to see how it felt outdoors. What a nice warm day! Paul felt good. When he looked at the plants in his garden they seemed to feel good too. What a difference the sun had made!
The warmth of the sun made Paul realize his gratitude to God, whose warmth embraces him in all weather and circumstances. What's more amazing is that God's rain and sun benefit all people, whether they are righteous or unrighteous. Paul also remembered the faith of the displaces Israelites, who affirmed, "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning" (Lam.3:22-23). Let us give thanks for God's never-failing love.
Prayer: Loving God, we receive your gifts with joy. We are grateful that your blessings are assured for us always, in Jesus' name. Amen.