From Sunrise Sunset (HarperCollins/Harper San Francisco), Rowland Croucher’s book of daily meditations. Feel free to use or adapt it.
Theophilus [lover of God]… Acts 1:1,2.
Luke wrote his two-part story about Jesus to the ‘most excellent’ Theophilus (Luke 1:1-4, Acts 1:1-5). The tone of deference suggests that Theophilus may have been a man of significance, perhaps a Roman official. He was an enquirer, wanting to know more about these most unusual happenings in those far-off provinces…
His name means ‘lover of God’. ‘You shall love the Lord your God…’ How can we measure our love for God? In my devotional book Rivers in the Desert the chapter ‘On Loving God’ suggests seven tests:
# We love God by loving other people (and you love God just as much as you love the person you love least!);
# Jesus said if we love him we will obey him;
# If you love someone you’ll want to linger in their company;
# Our speech is an index of our loves;
# If you love someone who is absent you’ll long for their return;
# The ‘idolatry test’ asks ‘what other, competing, loves turn me on?’;
# The ultimate test is martyrdom: who or what am I prepared to die for?
# If you love someone you’ll love what they have created (yourself, this beautiful earth etc);
# Loving another means you’ll forgive them when they do something you don’t understand.
Nine tests: how did you score?
I love you Lord, not for what you can give me or do for me or the heaven with which you shall reward me… but for yourself alone. Amen.