The Debt of Love

Read: I John 4:70-11

“Owe no one anything, except to love one another, for he who loves his neighbor fulfills the law.” Romans 13:8

We are living in a day and age when almost everyone is insisting on his or her “rights.” There are certain areas of life, of course, in which there is nothing wrong with that. But there are also certain areas of daily Christian living in which obligations take precedence over “rights”…either real or so-called.

Paul put this thought very simply (some say too simply) when he says, “Owe no one anything, except to love one another, for he who loves his neighbor fulfills the law.” He was not, of course, using the word “owe” in the usual sense. He knew that the merchant down the street was not going to accept “love” in payment for the commodities he was selling.

No, Paul was using the word “owe” in a much higher sense. He was speaking of the relationship of “debt” we have all incurred as a result of Christ’s death on Calvary…our debt to Him and to all mankind. The inexhaustible debt of love! That is the supreme obligation of every follower of Christ.

Instead of harping and carping incessantly about our “rights,” how much more becoming it is for a child of God to seek earnestly to pay his/her honest “debt” …the debt of love and kindness and helpfulness he/she owes his/her fellowman.

Love is not optional in the Christian’s life. It is a debt we owe, a debt we have to pay if we will bear the name of Christ. It may be that we have to sacrifice some of our presumed “rights” in order to pay our debt of love. Then let us sacrifice and pay it.

We can and should always seek to emulate the poet who stood in spirit at the cross of Calvary and said:

But drops of grief can ne’er repay. The debt of love I owe;
Here, Lord, I give myself away, ‘Tis all that I can do. Amen.

 How has prayer helped you? How does your personal prayer time and communal prayer time in worship inform and feed you? Look for more stories of prayer in next week’s Monday Meditation.