My youngest brother has always been a lover of all sorts of animals. Whether it was fish, birds, dogs, or cats – he loved them all and they seemed to love him back as well.
One day my brother came back from the Marathon County State fair with a pair of baby ducks and chickens. We didn’t live out in “the country” but we did live in the suburbs with a fairly large yard. Maybe that was the reason why my parents thought it was okay to purchase a pair of ducklings and chicks for my brother. The first few weeks were easy since the new pets were small and cute but as they grew and became more active, we had to find a place for them to live. Fortunately, my uncle did live out in the “country” and we made the 45-minute trip to his chicken coop. We dropped off the ducklings and chicks and my uncle said he would take care of them as long as we helped with the food, which we did.
At least once a week we would visit our pet birds, but we soon noticed that even though they weren’t the only chickens and ducks there they continued to walk together as a flock instead of joining the others. This wouldn’t be odd except for the fact that two were ducks and the other two were chickens. We concluded that since the four grew up together they probably saw each other more as a flock, if not actual family.
Sometimes our lives are like that as well. We move to places or get into situations where we find ourselves befriending or allying ourselves with people we would least expect. We might not be totally comfortable with it, but we do the best we can because it’s probably not only the best move for us for but for the others as well. Paul and his relationship with the Jewish communities that followed Jesus was the same way. They first distrusted Paul, but the more Paul worked for God, the more the followers of Jesus had no choice but to trust Paul and vice versa.
Working together and trusting one another may not be easy and it may not be as we imagine, but that that does not mean it cannot work. As long as we set our goals and work earnestly to fulfill those goals with the guidance of God I do believe nothing is impossible.
In Matthew 5:43-48, Jesus reminds us that we should not only love our neighbors but love our enemies as well. This doesn’t mean we should love evil doers or reward their evil doing, it means we should treat them in a way that makes them turn from their evil ways and into the path of goodness and righteousness. Whether a person acknowledges your efforts or not is up to them. All we can do is our best to show them the type of love that God shows us. A love that shines not only on the good but also those who might not be so good at heart.
If we love in this way, we can assure that no one in our community is left out of love and that all are given a chance to enter God’s kingdom on Earth.