12 So then, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation, but it isn’t an obligation to ourselves to live our lives on the basis of selfishness. 13 If you live on the basis of selfishness, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the actions of the body, you will live. 14 All who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons and daughters. 15 You didn’t receive a spirit of slavery to lead you back again into fear, but you received a Spirit that shows you are adopted as his children. With this Spirit, we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The same Spirit agrees with our spirit, that we are God’s children. 17 But if we are children, we are also heirs. We are God’s heirs and fellow heirs with Christ, if we really suffer with him so that we can also be glorified with him.
There is no greater obligation than that of a parent. To be in that parental role is a responsibility that literally keeps people awake at night. (I can trace my own insomnia back to the beginning of parenthood.) Yet for those of us who have been parents, most would never dwell on our “obligations,” as the focus of our concern. Instead, it is the love for our children that holds our hearts. As parents, no need or concern is too great. No worry is too minimal when it comes to supporting our children. We do not stop to count our “obligations,” instead, they are our little (or big) blessings.
Likewise, God knows this parental love because God created it. As our Great Parent, this is what and who God is without hesitation. It is through Christ that we are heirs to eternal life as God’s children. For God, there is no greater love than to worry for us, be there for us and love us so unconditionally. Furthermore, once we truly know this, then we do not just respond out of counting on our “obligations,” but out of love. We want to pass it on.
So now this scripture reads, “We have an obligation.” We are reminded that life isn’t just to be lived for our wants and desires. Like parents, we live not just for ourselves, but to live and love by God’s example. As God’s heirs, it is our desire to pass on love -parental love and more- in God’s place. We don’t dwell on our own responsibility, but through the Spirit, we pass along love out of our joy with thanksgiving. Because it is through Christ that we want to pass it on.
by Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
How does knowing that God’s love is so complete for you change your perspective about loving others?
Great Parent, You love us and know us so completely. We are always in debt to you. May I sense your love and understanding, so much so that I must pass it along. Amen.