“My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”
I John 3:18 NKJV
It is easy to spend ones life consumed by the pursuit of personal needs. I can recall striving to get all that I needed to live each day. I had little time to consider the needs of others. In my world view of the time, I was my provider. There was no one else to meet my needs, and I wasn’t responsible for anyone else’s.
My world view seemed to serve me well for a long time. The truth is, I really could not perceive the world beyond the tip of my nose. It was all me, and me only. I did not see the needs of others. I only was aware of my own. I lived in my own fortress, oblivious to the lives around me.
At some point I befriended an older lady in my apartment building. She, like I, was a lover of books. We spent
a lot of time talking about the books we liked. She became my first real friend as an adult. She made it through the airtight security I had placed around my life. I found that I actually cared about her.
Back at the beginning of the great flood of 1993, I awoke to a silent apartment. The power was off and my place was very hot. I had a sense that something was wrong. I found my Walkman. I managed to attach a speaker to it just in time to hear that the water was to be shut off at 2:00 am. It was 1:30.
I then raced to fill up all the containers I could find. I then ran down the hall and pounded on my friends door and told her what was happening. I then gave her my radio, as I had to go to Orchard Place, where I was a cook at the time, to fill all the sinks. She was grateful.That was the first time I really felt concerned for someone outside of my family.
I continued on in life, as my fortress crumbled. Then Jesus came into my life.
I suddenly became more aware of other people in the world, that I was not alone. My heart, hard and galvanized, began to soften as the Holy Spirit massaged away the hard places and made it raw. I was very confused and afraid of the changes that were happening in me. It all contributed to a general instability that kept me off balance.
Somewhere in the tumult of my life, God began to make me into an encourager. He has gifted me to raise the spirits of others, often by mere words. The tongue that used to hurt, now healed hearts. He also began to create a need in me to actually do things to encourage. The gift of helps was fostered in me as I found myself helping others. I served in ministries and ministered to people in my local church.
In the midst of all this, I learned that love is more than a word. It is also a deed. God had a habit of sending many emotionally needy people to me to assist. Most often it was a listening ear or a prayer. Sometimes He gave anointing to me to speak some truth that a person needed at that moment. My “ah ha” moment came one Sunday when the sermon was about benevolence. I heard how, sometimes, simply saying “be well and fed” is not enough.
As if to illustrate the point, there was a single dad and son that I had started bringing to church in my car. At one point, the father stated that he had a need to move he and his son to a different city for work, but had no money for a bus ticket. They were living in shelter for families. The sermon from James was bouncing around in my head and I felt compelled to help. I had just enough money laying around to help them.
Giving was transformative, as I was stepping beyond my comfort zone to help someone else. My love had moved from word, to deed.
There is also a need to show love in truth. This can be the hardest kind of love. There are times when we see those we love doing things that do not edify or sustain one’s christian walk. The temptation is to simply turn a blind eye, and ignore what is said or done. Love can not do that, it must speak forth, in love, to assist others in fostering behaviors representative the fruit of Spirit in ones life. I emphasize the love part. Too often we end up shooting the wounded.
We are living in a moment of time when it is important to show the love of God in word and tongue, but especially deed and truth. Our world is in need of love today. One thing that I have seen through this time, is the benevolence that people are showing each other. I, personally, have experienced that love, as God has provided for me time and time again through others.
Go forth today show that love. We are all stressed by events few of us have ever experienced. We believers have a reservoir of love that is endless and eternal, with the King of Glory as its source. Show the love of Jesus today!
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