1 John 3:17,18 – “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”
Last night at our youth group meeting, one of the young men brought a lesson based on these verses. He did an amazing job. So this morning, I’m giving you my take on the verses.
It’s one week until Thanksgiving. One week before we stuff ourselves full of holiday goodies. One week until the shopping frenzy officially begins. One week until the world tries to continue its quest to make us forget the reason for the season – the day we celebrate the most perfect Gift making His way into His creation as a baby.
It’s the time of year that we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Our hearts may make that proclamation but do our actions? Christ’s coming as an infant was about love. He loved us so much that He was willing to give up the wonders of Heaven for the burden of human life. He was willing to be our sacrifice. He provided us with the gift of forgiveness by His death on the cross. He also provided us with the gift of eternal life by rising from the grave three days after His death.
Jesus’ life and ministry was all about love. Not necessarily the warm squishy kind, but always the true kind.
So, how do these verses relate? Chances are, if you are reading this blog, you are probably in America. (If not, I would love to know where you are at!) God has truly blessed us here. Even the poorest people have more than the poorest in other countries. Yet, it is not enough. We want more. But in these verses, we are encouraged to give. Give of our self. Give of our time. Give of our blessings. There are so many organizations and people out there asking for assistance this time of year. It’s not hard to find someone to give some of your blessings to.
Giving a gift takes sacrifice. It costs something. It requires you to be humble. It makes you realize a need and choose to step up and meet it. Jesus saw the need for salvation and forgiveness in our life. He stepped up and filled the need. We have the opportunity to see the need in others. The question is: Will we step up to meet the need in others lives or will we continue to focus only on the wants in our own life?
Love is an action word. The word “love” can be said all day long but until there is some action behind it, it is nothing more than a word. Giving and love go hand in hand. A true gift given cannot be given with the attitude of begrudging. If it is given in this attitude, it is more of a prize – something you get for doing something. Not near as special in that light.
The young man who brought the lesson last night challenged us to complete a random act of service this week. He asked us to give the gift of service to someone unexpectedly. One example he gave was paying it forward. Have you ever been in the drive through line of a restaurant and found out that the person in front of you paid for your purchase? That is what a random act of service could look like. Or maybe you shovel someone’s driveway early in the morning. Or maybe you rake someone’s leaves from the yard. Or maybe you take a day off and go and volunteer at a shelter of some sort. Anything that puts you in the position to choose to serve someone other than yourself.
You see, love requires action. We are expected to show Jesus’ love to the world. We are expected to tell others about His gift. How can we love the world and tell others of His gift when we “seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him”? We have to live and love out loud and with action behind it.
So this week, don’t get caught up in the insanity of the holidays. Choose to see a need and meet it. Meet it without expectation of recognition or praise or honor. Meet it because Jesus would have met it. Meet it because love requires action. Meet it because His Gift is so worth it.