Friday, August 16, 2013

The test of true love



We've all seen them, the pictures of hungry children in Africa or Haiti. I receive a email newsletter from WorldVision and have often clicked on the "give now" button in my browser to donate. I'm clicking less often now. Am I growing calloused? experiencing donor fatigue? I find if I put it off, then I won't donate. How do you measure love? in dollars and cents? The Bible says not to love in words alone, but in actions. I've been reading 2 Corinthians in the Bible, where Paul writes:
"I am not ordering you to do this. I am simply testing how real your love is by comparing it with the concern that others have shown. You know our Lord Jesus Christ treated us with undeserved grace by giving up all his riches, so you could become rich.  I think you should finish what you started. If you give according to what you have, you will prove you are as eager to give as you were to think about giving."
                                                                          2 Corinthians 8:8-9, 11 CEVDCUS06 
 Paul is writing to people who said they want to help. When he mentioned the trouble in Palestine, these Christians said "you can count on us! We want to contribute." Now it is time to follow through. Follow through or lack of it is the test of true love. You said you would give, you have good intentions, now what are you going to do? 

I wish I could have points for feeling sorry for people. If I received points for feeling sorry, feeling bad, empathizing, my name would be in the "high score" lights. "I feel your pain, bro. I really do." Unfortunately you don't get points for good intentions. "Feeling the pain" is useless unless you also act. 

Many times money is not what is needed. Sometimes a phone call, a touch, a kind word, a note to say "thinking about you today, just prayed for you" - these often give people the courage to make it over the top of the mountain. Still, you have to follow through. You need to put it on your "to do list" and actually make the call, write the note, etc. or it counts for nothing. 

Paul says that Jesus put it all on the line when he gave up all his riches so we could become rich. Which means, by the way, that I am rich. He goes on to say that we should give or act according to what you have - so if I have money I can share it (assuming money is what is needed), or time or a word of encouragement or an act of kindness or ... Whatever it is, that you've been meaning to do, well in the words of Nike "just do it!"  It's a little risky, but that's the nature of love. Love takes risks. 

Next time you feel the compulsion to help someone - just do it.