“When Jesus commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves, it was not just for our neighbors’ sakes that he commanded it, but for our own sakes as well. Not to help find some way to feed the children who are starving to death is to have some precious part of who we are starve to death with them. Not to give ourselves to the human beings we know who may be starving not for food but for what we have in our hearts to nourish them with is to be, ourselves, diminished and crippled as human beings.” -Frederick Buechner; from Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons
God Cares about the Oppressed
God created us to live in relationship with others and to care for one another. As some people say, we are the hands and feet of Jesus on the earth. We are here to know God, make Him known and help people who have need. The quote from Buechner speaks to me because it connects with what I know to be true about God as is evident throughout the entire Bible, both Old and New Testament. God cares very deeply about those who are oppressed. Whether the oppression comes from tyranny, poverty, demonic presence, lies you are believing, or something else. He cares and wants to set us free. He sent Jesus to set us free and bring redemption and salvation. So, if we know Jesus and are following His personal example and teaching, I believe we will be moved to action to help others to become well and walk in freedom.
Love in Action
“Love in action” means lots of different things and looks different in people’s lives. Whether its adopting a child, spending time with a lonely senior, cleaning the house of a sick friend, mentoring an at-risk child…..whatever it is, I want to encourage you this week to take what you read in the Bible, along with the passions and gifts God has given you, and look around your community and world and just do something! We can’t do everything, but we can do something and that something is meaningful to the person we do it for. It is also meaningful to us because we are getting outside of our own little box and become more like Jesus in the process. Jesus said He came to serve others, not be served. He is our example.
Faith Should Compel You to Help
“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds. Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.” (James 2:14-18, NIV) This isn’t a theological debate between faith and works. James simply and clearly says that faith should compel you to move into action. It’s not about keeping your faith to yourself or puffing up with biblical knowledge. Turn your good intentions into action, and change the world.
+What passions and gifts did God give you that will help other people?
+What are some long-term goals of how you can help others?
+What one small thing can you commit to doing this week to help someone in need?
+If you don’t have much of a desire to help, ask God to give you compassion for people in need and to show you His heart on the matter. He will.
God, thank You for giving me Jesus as my role model of self-sacrifice and service. He came to serve and asks me to do the same. Enlighten my eyes to see the needs around me this week and give me a desire to take time to decide on an action plan of ways I can begin to reach out and help someone in need, in this city and around the world. Amen.
(The title of this devotional comes from a famous quote attributed to Gandhi, “We must be the change we want to see in the world.”)