“Let us not love with words…but…actions.” 1Jn 3:18 NIV
We must care about people’s spiritual and practical needs. It’s hard for someone to grasp the concept of God’s love when they don’t know where their next meal is coming from, or where they’ll sleep tonight. Food pantries worldwide are seeing a dramatic upsurge in emergency requests. Volunteer Cindy Crosby writes: “Each client is as different as the patterns in a kaleidoscope: retirees, the mentally ill, single mothers, young men fallen on hard times…And not everyone is grateful. Some are angry…some refuse eye contact…some leave without saying more than a few words…If you volunteer just to feel good about yourself, you’ll give up. Lofty ideals shatter like stained glass pelted by rocks…It’s the success stories that stick…The refugee mother whose son went on to Harvard on a scholarship…the woman who thanked me more times than I could count…the mother of six who showed palpable relief because that month she could feed her family…I remember Jesus’ words, ‘I was hungry…you gave me something to eat…I was a stranger…you invited me in’ (Mt 25:35 NIV). Now when I think of hunger, I see faces. And that has made all the difference.” It’s easier to love in theory than reality, especially when it comes to people who are difficult or different. But genuine love isn’t defined by what feels good or bad; God already set the standard. “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?…Let us not love with words…but…actions” (1Jn 3:17-18 NIV).
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