Our discussion in Sunday morning’s adult class included tyrannical leaders and even Mahatma Gandhi. All this discussion stemmed from Romans 13. The church in Rome is receiving startling instructions from Paul about the fact that they should submit to their governing authorities as they have “been instituted by God”(13:1). We wrestled in class with the theological and practical implications and I imagine that I wasn’t the only one that left class less comfortable about the idea than when I first entered.
The final twenty minutes of our class time was spent in a surprising place: the supermarket. The second half of Romans 13 turns the attention from that which we cannot change, to that which we can; ourselves! Our actions, our attitudes, and even our thought life, are to demonstrate love for God and love toward our neighbor. What do we do when that inconsiderate person jumps in line ahead of us or brings twenty items into the 10 items or less line? How many of us can say we have made God proud by our thoughts and actions at the store?
Love is challenged in such places. We may be the only ones at Shop Rite thinking “How can I show love to a stranger?” If we are not thinking this than we are not prepared when an opportunity arises to show: grace; by allowing the woman with three children to get in front of you, mercy; to an otherwise undeserving line-jumper, the precious gift of your time; in helping an elderly gentlemen find the paprika. The truth is that there are infinite ways to demonstrate love.
May we take our hearts out of the frozen food aisle and help others in their shopping quest. The storehouse of our Lord’s shelves never run empty of love and neither should our hearts.