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October 18, 2020 | Doug Sauder
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“Do to others as you would have them do to you.”—Luke 6:31 (NIV)
As adults, we try to teach children to share with others. We tell them, “Sharing is caring,” and explain that it’s the right thing to do. We explain if they want others to share with them, they need to share with others. Otherwise, how can they expect someone to show them courtesy and generosity?
This is a lesson we can also apply to our lives in practically every area that pertains to interactions with others. Luke 6:31 (ESV) tells us, “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” The word for wish here is theló, which means, “to desire (wish, will), wanting what is best (optimal) because someone is ready and willing to act.”
How often do you wish for what is best? How often do you demand that others treat you with respect? How often do you expect someone to be gracious, thoughtful, kind, considerate, and generous? If you’re being honest, you probably wish people would act this way toward you all the time. And why wouldn’t you? Why would you wish for people to be unfriendly? Why would you wish for someone to not share with you or to be unforgiving and inconsiderate? You wouldn’t! No one in his or her right mind would.
Sadly, though, our wishes for the way people would treat us often look a lot more thoughtful, considerate, and generous than the way we treat others. We tend to forget the lessons we were taught as children and the ones we try to instill in our children.
Living a life of extravagant generosity, the kind of generosity that impacts others for the gospel, means embracing the Luke 6:31 principle in all our interactions. It means constantly remembering 1) how God treats us vs. what we deserve, and 2) how we wish others would treat us. It means being generous and kind even when others aren’t.
Jesus made it clear in John 13:35 (NIV): “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." As disciples, we need to be known as people who treat one another with the highest honor, as we wish they would treat us. We should be known by our coworkers, neighbors, classmates, friends, and family members as the best person they know. Why? Because the Holy Spirit of God has poured the very best thing in all creation into our hearts: the love of God. Our response to this should always be a lavish outpouring into the lives of others.
As believers, we need to get into the habit of treating others the way we wish to be treated. It’s not easy. There will be bad days. There’ll be days when the alarm doesn’t go off, when people do nasty, underhanded, deceitful, selfish things. There will be times when you’ll get cut off in traffic or skipped in line. On those days, remember Paul’s words in Romans 12:17–18, 20 (NLT): “Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone . . . If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.”
Moments of selfishness or anger will happen. In those moments, we need to ask for supernatural strength and a Christ-like love for others. On those days, we need to remind ourselves of Luke 6:31. Otherwise, we may end up hurting the people around us; we may end up pushing them away from Christ instead of drawing them to Him. That’s the last thing we should ever do. Christ commissioned us to make disciples. Our lives can be a living testimony to the gospel; the way we treat others can either make us a stepping-stone to the gospel or a stumbling block.
Which will you be today?