It’s probably not a newsflash if I tell you that, over here at Bright Hope, we have a passion to reach out to the poor and be Jesus’ hands and feet in some of the poorest communities in the world. (Am I right?)
But, in addition to a sincere desire to “help” and “make a difference,” we have compelling reasons from God’s Word that should especially motivate all of us as Christians to press us on in the work that we’re doing.
Some of my favorite verses are 1 John 3:17 – 18:
“But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.”
Don’t those words just grip your heart? Talk about a strong “call to action.”
I think all of us should read those verses and be stirred to examine our lives and actions—
- Are we living this out?
- Are we doing all that God would have us do?
- Is there something else we could add to what we’re already doing?
Our response may be financial, but it may not be. It could mean funding a major project overseas, or giving your time and skills to a ministry or nonprofit. There are lots of ways to show love to our “brother in need.” I would encourage us (preaching to myself here) to not get stuck in the but-money-is-tight-and-I-don’t-have-anything-extra-to-give mindset.
So maybe you don’t consider yourself “wealthy.” Okay, I get it.
But by default, if you and I live in the U.S., we are wealthier than most of the world. That isn’t meant to guilt anyone into giving a donation to an organization. I know that even if we “have it good” compared to someone without running water in the slums of Kenya, our financial burdens can still be stifling and overwhelming. But no matter the situation, we can still set our hearts to gratefulness and ask the Lord to help us look beyond our own needs to see what opportunities we have around us to be generous.
(And truth be told, even when I say, “I have no money,” somehow I occasionally still find a way to buy a coffee drink that could hardly be classified as a “need”…so, there’s that. (I’ll just leave that there for each of us to be honest with ourselves about what “I have no money” really means.))
But, really, this isn’t about guilt-tripping. It’s about heart motivation. Take note that these verses are in the context of God’s great love for us—love so great that He laid down His life for us and lets us be called His children. And it’s on the heels of that that we are encouraged to likewise love and give. Not only with our words, but with our actions.
It’s as the saying goes: “actions speak louder than words.” And I can think of few situations where this is more true than in helping the poor, the needy, the vulnerable and the weak.
I hope this phrase, “Let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth,” resonates with all of us in a powerful way that we can’t dismiss.