June 08, 2017

Sun, Rain, and Love for Everyone

Matthew 5:43-48

He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

—  Matthew 5:45

We welcomed the rain after the first sunny, hot days of late spring. The tender young plants in our garden had begun to wilt. Sprinkling had helped, but as any gardener knows, there’s nothing like rain from the ­heavens. So we were grateful for the soaking rain from our heavenly Father.

Everyone around us received rain—even people who speak of “Mother Nature” or express no gratitude to the Father for raining his blessings on them. I sometimes wonder about this. Maybe you do too. My wife and I did our best to teach our children to say thank you for the gifts they received. (When they did not give thanks, I was tempted to withhold gifts the next time around.)

Our verse for today has been quoted across the centuries in theological debates. This lesson from God’s garden demonstrates the heavenly Father’s providence to all his undeserving children—“the evil and the good.” And the lesson goes further. God’s grateful children are to show heavenly love to “ene­mies” such as betrayers, cheats, and persecutors.

For this work of love, I recommend beginning the day with prayer for how you can shine God’s warmth and goodness into the lives of friends and enemies alike. And throughout the day, pray that all your neighbors will come to know the Father through Jesus, the Son.

Father in heaven, thank you for sunshine and rain. As I receive your gifts, remind me that they are for sharing and reflecting your perfect love with others. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Don Byker

Don Byker has been a pastor since 1984 in various churches and institutional settings. Don and his wife, Donna, are the parents of four adult children, two of whom are married. Donna and Don are also the glad grandparents of three granddaughters. Currently Don is serving in a rural church in Michigan full of gardeners.

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