Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Love in Action

Every day, if we look with open eyes and hearts, we can see needy people all around us. Some people don't display their needs as openly as others, but if we keep alert and tuned in to our surroundings, we will be able to discern the needs of the people in our sphere of influence. As Christians, we should be alert as to how God wants us to help meet the needs of others. We can either ignore the needs around us, look the other way, and go on our merry way, or we can ask God how He would like for us to be His vessel to meet the need in another person's life.

Deuteronomy 15:7 says: "If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted and tightfisted toward your poor brother. Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs.......Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to...Therefore, I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land."

However, we must have a pure motive in our giving to others. We must do it:
1. willingly (Matt. 10:8- Freely you have received, freely give.")
2. generously (II Cor. 9:6- "whoever sows generously will also reap generously")
3. in love (I Cor. 13:3- "if I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, and have not love, I gain nothing.")

James tells us that if we see a brother or sister without clothes or daily food, and do nothing, what good is it? Then he says in James 2:18b "Show me faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do." In vs. 22, he continues "you see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did."

If we are to be God's servants and follow Christ's example, we will have open eyes to see a need, a compassionate heart to want to meet the need, and by our love, act and do something to help.

There's a Christian praise song that ends "And they'll know we are Christians by our love!" When we openly extend Christ's love to others through a servant's heart, others will be drawn to that love and want what we have. In John 12:26b, Jesus told his disciples that "The Father will honor the one who serves me."

Let's follow the example of the Macedonian churches in II Cor. 8:2--"Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints."

It is a privilege to give out of our love for Christ to the needy in this world. It brings overflowing joy and may even result in everlasting life to those that do not know Christ as Saviour, and are allowed to see Christ through our giving and want to know our Savior and Lord for themselves personally.

"You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God." (II Cor. 9:11)

Serve others and give generously out of your love for God in return for all He has done for you!


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