Be the means

This is how we’ve come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves. If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears. And you made it disappear. (I John 3:16)

Wouldn't it be terrible if God's love disappeared from this earth? What is the need you walk by today? It may seem insignificant at the time, but each 'passed-by' need is one less expression of God's love to a hurting and very needy world. Living sacrificially doesn't come easy to us, does it? Who do we think about first on most occasions? Do we cook dinner because we think the family is hungry even when we are probably not hungry ourselves? Do we speed ahead, closing the gap in traffic as cones are directing traffic down to one lane and that yahoo on your right has sped ahead of everyone trying to get in between you and the car in front of you, bypassing his 'rightful' place in line? Do we slow down to talk to a small child reveling in the discovery of a punch of dandelions, plucking those white blobs of billowing seeds one by one and letting them go aloft into the air without scolding or shooing him away? God's love isn't hard to express, but sometimes we might not realize there is an opportunity to 'give sacrificially' when we listen to our inner voice of 'flesh'. We won't want to make dinner because we aren't hungry. We won't give an inch to let that 'interloper' into the traffic merge. We will send the child away in the name of 'weed control'. God's love will have disappeared as easy as that.

Do we have 'means' to do something about the need of another? Most of the time we think of 'means' as financial ability, but more often than not the need is met by other means. Time, talent, and yes, even our invested treasure - all are a 'means' by which the need may be met. Turning a cold shoulder to a need is a lot easier sometimes than taking the time to meet the need. It is easier to send the kiddo down the street to revel in someone else's yard than it is to take time to laugh and encourage his sense of discovery. It is unlikely that one car in front of you will make a difference in the time it takes you to get to your destination, but it could make all the difference in the time he needs to get to his. It isn't that you are the only one who can cook that meal for the family, but they sure enjoy what you make more than you might realize. We have the 'means' to meet so many needs without even having to dip into our pocketbooks, my friends. 

Love one another as I have first loved you - does this sound familiar? Jesus spoke those words to his disciples and those who were within hearing distance. The instruction he gave was actually recorded so all of us could 'hear' them at some point. The rest of that verse tells us it is how others will know we are loved by God and that we are his disciples (learning at his feet, living by his truth, and trusting in him with all we've got). (John 13:34-35) For love to disappear, we just need to ignore this instruction. God doesn't expect us to do more than he did - he expects us to do what he did and in turn, what seems like it won't be 'more' than what he did, his love is multiplied - making it more! Love is meant to be multiplied - through us by his movement in and through us. If we miss the opportunity today, the 'multiplication' factor is interrupted. So, don't miss the opportunity to see this love thing multiplied - you are God's means of loving a hurting world. Just sayin!

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