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  • Shawn Thornton

The Speed of Love

Wednesday - December 8th

Scripture to Read Today: Matthew 25:34-40


For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.

Matthew 25:35–36

One year after preaching at the last Christmas Eve service, I got in a small propeller airplane in Charleston, West Virginia, to fly to Baltimore to join Lesli and the kids at her parents’ home for Christmas. It was the final flight out of Charleston for the night.

The little plane was packed with last-minute holiday travelers. “Good evening, passengers. This is your captain speaking. We’ve got mostly clear skies. Our approximate flight time will be fifty-five minutes. Please make sure your seatbelts are fastened. And... maybe we’ll get a glimpse of St. Nick.” The engines began to roar, and we moved forward down the runway. The captain would come on the speaker system every ten minutes or so. “Folks, just letting you know, I heard from NORAD that we are on a similar flight path as Santa Claus.” Passengers smiled, and kids whispered in hushed, excited tones to their parents. “Oh, Oh...folks, we just missed Santa and his reindeer out the left window.”

The festive bantering and playfulness of the pilot helped lighten the mood. Here we were, passengers on a late flight on Christmas Eve headed for home. None of us wanted to be on the plane. We were tired and cranky. We wanted to be with our families. I’m sure the captain wanted to be with his family too. Yet, he kept us laughing and lifted our spirits despite the circumstances.

It’s the little gestures that ease our burdens. The smile to a tired and overworked Target clerk. Holding the door for the mom with a stroller trying to navigate a Starbucks with twin toddlers in tow. Using the waiter’s name and leaving a generous tip at your favorite restaurant. Getting down to a child’s eye level and playing with them. Listening to a widow grieve and count down the years since she lost her husband.

Too often, we live at the speed of light, trying to get ahead. God calls us to live at the speed of love. What is the “speed of love?” It’s the pace of life that allows us to connect with people, even strangers. It’s the time we take, even for a moment, to give a little hope.

Jesus said that if we clothed someone, gave a drink to someone, or fed someone, we have done it to Him.

Beyond meeting basic life needs, Jesus was emphasizing the significance of acts of kindness, noticing people who cross our paths every day. Who are the people we often tend to overlook in our busy schedules? The trash collectors, the postal carriers, the co-worker in the other department, the clerk at the grocery store? A neighbor we barely know? How can we love them at the speed of love?

It takes little thought to live at the speed of light. But it takes intentionality to live at the speed of love!


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