What do you give the man who has everything? At Christmastime or on a birthday, it is much easier to think of a gift for young children or students or a couple who just had their first child. Their needs are obvious and practical gifts go a long way. But what do we give our father or a wealthy friend? They probably have all they need and, if we thought of something, we probably couldn’t afford it, anyway.
Deuteronomy 10 tells us that “to the Lord your God belong heaven, and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it.” The Lord is the legal owner, by right of creation, of everything on our planet and everything that surrounds our planet. This is a staggering truth if we have a mind to grasp it. The Lord is the ultimate ruler of things in our world and of all that goes on beyond this physical world. He is the only true power, “the God of gods and Lord of lords,” and He reigns perfectly in justice and righteousness. What could we possibly offer Him?
He kindly answers the question Himself. Since God, in His great wisdom and righteousness, chose to set His own heart in love upon us, He asks us to do the same for others. Despite God’s complete self-sufficiency, He chose to care for us and patiently bless us with the good gifts of His presence, His guidance, and participation in His purposes for creation. As a response, He asks us to love, in like manner, those around us who are at risk, who are most vulnerable. In the ancient world, the most vulnerable were widows, orphans, and foreigners. These people’s lives depended upon the benevolent care, provision, and protection of others. Without initiating love and sacrificial care from others, most of these people would not have survived. God called His ancient people to love the vulnerable just as they had been loved. In this way God’s character, which is love, and God’s rule would be felt and seen in the land where God was establishing His people.
Has anything changed today? We are still an undeserving people who have been extravagantly loved by a generous Father. He has set his heart in love upon us. All He asks, in return, as part of our expression of love for Him, is that we seek out the vulnerable around us and love them in like manner. Caring for widows, orphans, and sojourners is still the best place to start, even more than three thousand years after Deuteronomy was written.
As you sing praise to your God, and renew your covenant relationship with Him in daily and weekly worship, will you give Him the gift of love by loving the vulnerable around you?