NOTE: much of today’s devotion was first shared in December 2011.
I am preparing to go to Nicaragua at the end of August with a group of people from our church. We will encounter poverty at levels that is not seen in the area we will in, yet people in need are all around us. We must be careful to open our eyes and even ask God to show us who we can serve.
Opportunities to help people will pass us by if we let it. Being humans our normal mode is to put on blinders and only deal with our own issues and our own life while allowing situations and people to pass us by. That reminds me of the time when someone saw a lady getting mugged on the street, yet they passed by after doing nothing to help. Sounds like the story of the “good Samaritan” to me.
If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?
We say that we love God, and we even go to church and can quote scripture. Yet we see someone in need and move on. How can we keep on doing that? The excuses we come up with may be that we don’t have enough money or don’t have the resources the person might need, but we do have some of what they need. We might even know where this person, another human loved by God, can get what they need. But we too often walk on by.
Here is an example of what breaks my heart… American Christians are making a difference in many places here and around the world. Our call is NOT to Americanize people, making them look like or act like we do. God’s call on us and His church is to share the hope that comes from knowing Jesus. Many times for people to hear what we have to say we have to meet their needs. I believe the best way to meet needs is to go where people are.
For too long we have expected people to come to where we are, dress the way we want them to and talk the way we think they should talk. Watch out! Lost people often act lost. Hello! Hurting people act like hurting people. It is time for each of us to take the love that God has given us and give it to others.
That might mean we have to get our hands dirty. That might mean we have to learn another language or find someone who can interpret what we are saying. It means we have to leave our comfort zone and go to where it is not so comfortable. It means that we have to leave where we are and go somewhere else. Know anyone who has done that before? Think about this guy: JESUS. He left heaven and came to earth.
Love really does mean helping others. I long to serve the people around me. Often serving means I might not always be comfortable, I might not always understand, I might have to live by faith, I might have to join with others to help more people, I might have to give some of what I have away, I might have to put in to practice what I read in the Bible, I might have to … what? What might you and I have to do so that we can show that we believe LOVE MEANS … HELPING OTHERS?
16 We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters… 18 Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.