John 13:35 "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
A family in our small group experienced tragedy this week. While hunting with his son, a father's ATV rolled over. The boy was thrown, but the dad was momentarily pinched underneath the four-wheeler as it tumbled downhill. He was life flighted to a local hospital where a CT scan confirmed he had broke his back. He is currently paralyzed from the waist down. Overwhelmed with caring for their kids and preparing for a lengthy hospital stay, his wife and children have been embraced by the loving arms of friends and church family.
The harsh realities of life have a way of bringing a greater understanding of what aspects of life are truly significant. They remind us of how important our response is to those in need. For example, on Tuesday my mind and my heart was so moved by this family's situation that cleaning our bathrooms became very unimportant to me. I began asking myself how I could serve and minister to this family during this time. Apparently, hundreds of other people were having similar thoughts.
Two days after the accident, a group of men built a wheel chair ramp at their home. Meals are being planned through Christmas, a 24 hour prayer vigil starts tomorrow, people are coordinating yard work, house cleaning, and childcare etc. Eagerness to serve has penetrated people's hearts. We are all pulling together. A sense of teamwork has developed within the body of Christ to minister to the needs of this family. Witnessing this extension of love has been powerful.
1 John 4:7 & 11 exhorts us, "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." Galatians 6: 2 reminds us to "Carry each others burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." Love comes from God and because we have experienced His love through Jesus, it enables us to love others. A natural response in our lives is to love others which includes carrying each others burdens. Our faith expresses itself through love (Gal. 5:6).
Loving and serving each other is more than just words. Our actions need to back up what we say. 1 John also reminds us in 3:17 to not only love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. Friends, this is vital to our example and testimony as Christians. Loving others sacrificially shows we truly are a follower. Our actions reveal we are walking in Christ's footsteps when we willingly put others needs before ourselves.
It's time to evaluate our response to the needs of those around us. Your current circumstances may be different than mine. However, I am confident there are people around you needing to be loved sacrificially. Others are watching how we respond. They wait and see if our lips and lives will agree, (Geoff Thomas). How will the world know we are Christians? Simply stated friends; by our love.
Ask God to reveal to you a need to be filled within your community? Respond appropriately with love.
What prevents you from being more aware of the needs of those around you? What hinders you from expressing love to others?
Heart Changing Word:
John 13:35 (NIV) "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
1 John 4:19 "We love because He first loved us."
1 John 4:16 "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
1 John 4:23 "And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us."
Copyright 2010 by Hester Christensen. All rights reserved.