There is a popular myth we tell ourselves: that what we get from life depends entirely on what we put into it. If we put our shoulders to the wheel and our noses to the grindstone, and work hard, we will succeed. Nothing bad will ever happen to us. Misfortunes are for those who have sinned. Poverty is caused by laziness and a lack of personal discipline.
Lately, my heart has been broken by the struggles of someone I know. She was involved in a car crash, not her fault, that totaled her car and left her with enduring injuries that caused her to lose her job. After a too-short time for healing, she found another job. This one paid barely more than minimum wage, but lacking a high school diploma, it was the best she could get. The money was not enough to keep up with the expenses over the winter, so the power bill fell behind.
Then, her daughter went into labor too soon; the baby died. On the same day her grand-daughter died, the power company cut off their power. Struggling to find the money for her grand-baby’s funeral, and to restore electricity in the home, she is at her wit’s end.
If hard work were the answer, this woman would be a billionaire. If diligent effort made the difference, none of these things would have happened to her.
So, what is that to me? Why should I care about some stranger’s misfortunes? I should care because this woman and her daughter and her grand baby are as much beloved children of God as I claim to be. And since all 4 of us are equally beloved children of God, we are kin. (You are kin, too—just so you know).
Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment. Love one another as I have loved you.” We spend our days living out that commandment.