“By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.”
I John 3:16-23 NKJV
We are the walking wounded, as many of us are suffering a death by a thousand cuts. Living these days is filled with trouble, as everything seems to be in upheaval. There is little peace for the believer and the unbeliever. In this season of stress, a little love can go a long way.
Many people are in need of resources such as housing, food, clothing and such, as the economy is in difficulty as we emerge from the pandemic. The showing of love must go beyond simply offering verbal kindness, and must go into the tangible, as we make an effort to help our brothers and sisters in the household of faith.
God has blessed us to bless others.
“Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.”
Acts 4:34-35 NKJV
One thing that happens everyday, as people cross paths with one another, is the common asking of “How are you?”. Typically this a thoughtless gesture, with the asker not really wanting an answer, and not at all really concerned. If eve there was a time to ask such a question, it is now.
It is the opening for people to share their needs, to alert others of things that may be in short supply. It also gives those who help an opportunity for a blessing, as they show the benevolence of God to others.
Back in I John this morning, I read the chapter on loving one another. It focused mainly on meeting the material needs of others, but it could easily be applied to meeting other, emotional needs.
I was scolded on my own tendency to be one who has asked others how they are doing, without really considering the answer. One of the most basic ways of showing love is actually listening to the concerns of others.
I am learning that people most off are not looking for solutions or grand gestures, just someone to listen. They are taking a risk in sharing the deepest, most raw parts of themselves, exposing tender places to others and asking for mercy.
I have had the blessing of one of my most beloved brothers in Christ visiting me off and on over the past few weeks. It has been wonderful to have someone to bounce things off of, and take the time to get caught up. It has been a great opportunity to be listened to, and to be heard.
It has also given me the opportunity to listen to someone else’s heart.
My time in the prayer chair has opened my heart to the plight of others, as many bring to me their deepest troubles to be prayed over. It is easy to find oneself caught up in ones own troubles, but interceding on behalf of others has made me more aware that I am not the only one with problems.
As we love one another inside the walls of the local church, let us also take that love outside to a world that is increasingly bereft of love. We have the gift of salvation, purchased by a loving God who sent His beloved Son to die for our sins. He laid down everything for us.
Let us go out and lay everything down for those who have not yet heard the Good News, that they be saved from hell and made new. Let us have open ears and open hearts, ready to listen to those who are hurting.
May we take every opportunity afforded to present the Gospel, even when doing so places us at odds with those who reject the glorious message that we offer.
“Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”
II Timothy 2:8-10 NKJV
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