I remember watching a video of an Olympic long-distance race; I think it was the marathon. Two runners entered the Olympic stadium after running 26 miles to finish the last two laps on the track in the stadium. The lead runner was about 50-yards ahead of the second place runner. As they approached the finish line the lead runner collapsed on the track with a leg injury.
The runner in second place closed rapidly, but instead of running past and winning the race, he stopped and helped the injured runner to his feet. Arm-in-arm he supported the injured runner to the finish line and allowed him to cross the finish line first. It was one of the most amazing displays of sportsmanship I have ever seen!!
After the race the man was asked why he had done it. His answer was, “He was clearly going to win the race. He was the best runner out here today. It was just the right thing to do.” It was more important to him to do the right thing, and show extraordinary kindness, than to win the race. For this man, being kind came before winning! Being comes before doing.
The same is true with God – being comes before doing. God doesn’t need us to do anything. He is more than capable of doing anything He wants. He wants us “to be” in a relationship with Him. Out of that relationship a love will grow. That love will create a desire to do many things with and for God. But the relationship, and the way you are being, comes first.
The thief on the cross who was crucified next to Jesus is a perfect example. He did nothing – want can you do on a cross? But for the briefest of moments, he had a relationship with Jesus. He knew that whatever Kingdom lay ahead for Jesus, it was not going to be an earthly one. So he simply said, “Remember me.” And Jesus promised him paradise that very day. And in that moment, a brief earthly relationship became eternal. And so it can be for you!
It’s all about the love, not the doing. Jesus cares much more about who we are than what we do. The Christian life is not about performance – it is about relationship! Your relationship with God and your relationship with your neighbor is the key. So, just love God and your neighbor as yourself. Remember salvation is simply Jesus plus nothing!!