The Upper Room devotional reflection for Monday, June 22, comes to us from Francis Jorge Valera of The Dominican Republic
Luke 7:11-16: “Not long after that, Jesus went to the village Nain. His disciples were with him, along with quite a large crowd. As they approached the village gate, they met a funeral procession – a woman’s only son was being carried out for burial. And the mother was a widow. When Jesus saw her, his heart broke. He said to her, “Don’t cry.” Then he went over and touched the coffin. The pall bearers stopped. He said, “Young man, I tell you: Get up.” The dead son sat up and began talking. Jesus presented him to his mother.
“They all realized they were in a place of holy mystery, that God was at work among them. They were quietly – and then noisily grateful, calling out among themselves, “God is back, looking to the needs at God’s people!” The news of Jesus spread all through the country. (The Message)
2 Thessalonians 3:13 (NIV) As for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.
Every so often a certain young man would arrive at my workplace to ask for money or for other assistance. Sometimes I willingly gave him money. Other times I did so grudgingly because though he always insisted he was going to change his ways, he didn’t. His addiction had destroyed his health.
The last time I saw him and gave him money, his health had deteriorated greatly. But I was caught by surprise when he raised his arms toward heaven and said a prayer of thanks to God for my life and what I had done for him.
A year went by without my seeing him. One day a woman whom I did not know came to my place of work. She was the young man’s mother, and she had come to bring me a message. Her son had told her on his deathbed to seek me out and thank me for all I had done for him.
The apostle Paul’s message is a clear reminder for me to “never tire of doing what is good.” And our reading from Luke about the widow from Nain is but one example of Jesus’ compassion. Today when cynicism toward the suffering of others is so prevalent, Jesus calls us to show compassion — period.
God’s radical grace calls me to give and expect nothing in return.
Prayer: God of grace, help us to show compassion to our sisters and brothers, even when we think they don’t deserve it. We pray in the name of the One who shows compassion to us. Amen.
-Francis Jorge Valera
Prayer Focus: Parents of Those Struggling with Addiction
There are so many around us who struggle to survive. Often it feels like trying to help doesn’t really achieve anything. Perhaps behaviors never change; circumstances only get worse, and suffering seems not only inevitable, but self-inflicted. Often we even feel scammed, and perhaps sometimes we are being scammed.
John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Movement, echoes the wisdom of the Letter to the Church at Thessalonica, when he said:
“Do all the good you can. “By all the means you can. “In all the ways you can. “In all the places you can. “At all the times you can. “To all the people you can. "As long as ever you can.” Pastor Bea