Better Than Chocolate
Thursday - August 20th Scripture to Read for Today's Devotional: John 13:31-35
Today's Selection from our Sermon on the Mount Reading Plan: Matthew 5:33-37
"By this everyone will know
that you are my disciples,
if you love one another."
Residents of a Swiss town got a bit of a shock when it started snowing particles of fine cocoa powder last week. Among other things, an entire car was covered with a thin dusting of the cocoa. The ventilation system at a chocolate factory malfunctioned. The Lindt & Spruengli company confirmed local reports last week that there was a minor problem in the cooling ventilation for roasted "cocoa nibs" in its factory in Olten, between Zurich and Basel.
Combined with strong morning winds, the powder spread around the factory's immediate vicinity, leaving a fine cocoa dusting everywhere. Factory production was able to continue. The company says the particles were entirely harmless to people and the environment. The ventilation system has been repaired and falling cocoa dust has ended.
Chocolate flakes falling from the sky seems like a dream for chocoholics. It even has a bit of a romantic twist. For some, nothing says love like chocolate!
In our modern world, our love for someone else gets symbolized with chocolate, flowers, cards, and other gifts. Often the more costly or extravagant the gift, the more you love someone. True love can be identified by the gift - even chocolate given. Jesus told His followers the love they would have for each other would be the significant marker that they were indeed His. The mark of love among His people would be the way they cared. It would not be flowers, gifts, or chocolate. "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another" (John 13:35).
Jesus emphasized how His followers would relate to each other and would look out for each other. He and the writers of the New Testament would put great value on the "one another" relationship His followers have with each other. Over the next few days, our Take5 devotionals will explore several of these one another's in the New Testament. Understanding them and their importance helps us know how we are to care for and love each other. During this time, when we are isolated from friends, family, and our brothers and sisters in Christ, it is essential to proactively and creatively find ways to live out the "one another" commands of Scripture.
Loving one another is the most frequent command given in the New Testament of all the "one another" commands. The imperative to "love one another" appears in the New Testament 16 times.
Beyond the number of times this command appears, we need to recognize that it is the only one of the "one another" commands that Jesus linked to people clearly identifying us as His followers. In John 13, when Jesus gives this command, the setting is the Upper Room the night before His crucifixion. He emphasized in that setting that He would be leaving them to return to the Father.
The group of Disciples gathered with him came from a wide variety of backgrounds and political viewpoints for the time. So, it was not natural for them to love each other. Jesus had become the common denominator among them. But, He would be leaving.
Jesus challenges them to look around the room and understand that if they could truly love one another, it would be a remarkable sight for others. The world around them would then recognize that something supernatural and distinct was happening. Men who would usually be at odds with each other would be seen showing love for each other.
As modern-day followers of Jesus, we need to demonstrate that same kind of love. We need to be committed in how we care for and look out for each other's needs. People are watching. When they see the same divisions among His followers that can be seen in the world, they fail to see Christ in us. But, if we genuinely love each other, that will be noticeable to a watching world.
Go out of your way to show your love for another member of Christ's family today. Call or text someone who could use encouragement. Include people others might naturally overlook or dismiss. Let the love of Jesus flow from you to others. As we each love another follower of Christ, and they love someone else, everyone will know we are Christ's disciples by our love for each other. Loving one another is a far better way to let others see our love than chocolate – sorry chocolate lovers!
During this time of limited contact with our brothers and sisters in Christ, the world needs to see us loving each other!