sexta-feira, 20 de março de 2015

FRIENDS OR EMPLOYEES?


You are my friends if you do what I command.
I no longer call you servants.

John 15:14-15a (read 15:9-17) - NIV

Amazing! Jesus calls us friends! It's hard to be a friend of Jesus. It would be much easier to be employed by him. As an employee, I would have a fixed schedule with weekends off, holidays, vacations, health benefits and a retirement plan. In my spare time I could forget the boss and look after my own interests. Another advantage would be to have well-defined functions. The “Jesus Company” would have its norms and rules of procedure. There would be a manual to be studied and consulted to answer doubts. My responsibility would be to be a good employee and do everything according to the standards set by the employer. Compliance with the system and improvement in performance of functions could bring promotions. I could be promoted and become the head of a department and have others under my authority. I could convey the boss's orders to my subordinates and train new employees. It would be cool to be employee of Jesus! I would not need to be creative or improvise. It would be enough just to obey orders.

A part of being a friend of Jesus is great. Friendship has no rules or time schedule. It is a spontaneous thing, based on love. Loving Jesus is easy! He is very kind. I know I am much loved by Him. So it is easy to love him back.

But there is another thing that he puts in the middle of it all that complicates things. These are the words: "Love each other as I have loved you." That spoils everything!!! Some people are unpleasant and downright disrespectful. Others say they love Jesus but are obnoxious and do not like me. There are those of whom I do not approve. There are many who are not friends of Jesus and do not even claim to be. Also, there billions who use other labels such as: Spiritualist, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, atheist, agnostic, etc. How can I love those people?

I think it well that Jesus accepts and loves me despite my flaws. I know I'm not perfect. Deep down, I'm not bad. But having friendship with Jesus and including all those others? That’s asking a lot! It would be much easier just to be his Company employee and follow orders. That way I could put aside those people who disturb and disrupt things. I could dutifully take care of the Company affairs and leave loving the world to Jesus.

Obedience requires less than love. It is easier to replace love with a set of rules of a closed system with well-defined standards. Organized religions have many commandments to guide their followers on the way of salvation.

Jesus has a unique commandment: to love God with all our strength and our neighbor as ourselves. That does not leave anyone out and is creative. It breaks down barriers and opens paths.

The lack of love has created a world full of barriers that have been erected even in the name of God. Laws create obstacles, but love conquers them. Maybe we create obstacles because we are afraid of those who are different from us.

Being a friend of Jesus and live His love is dangerous and requires courage. It makes us vulnerable, subject to suffering. On the other hand, this friendship transforms life into an adventure of faith. It pays to take the risks and walk with Jesus in the world!

 

John 15:9-17 – New International Version (NIV)

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.

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