Reaching Out In Love and Service

“If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” -1 Corinthians 12:26 (ESV)

Stepping into the poorer side of Calcutta was like stepping into another world. A world that I had seen every day on my many visits to India, but never really knew at all. It’s a brutal world where every manner of vice and suffering imaginable thrives. Yet for every horror story that comes out of this world, there are stories of selfless service and valor. While I was in this world, I came across accounts of street children being generous with what little resources they had in order to help another in his time of desperate need. I even heard of one story where a group of street children prevented two corrupt police officers from assaulting a girl by throwing stones at them. In the midst of the madness that is their reality, these street children look out for each other and protect each other from harm.

Christ foreknew that the weight and bondage of sin would be something that we could not bear. Motivated by His divine love, He initiated His redemptive plan for the world; the climax of which was His willful sacrifice of Himself on the cross for humanity’s transgressions. As children of God wanting to follow the example of Christ, we cannot afford to be silent and inactive in the face of human suffering. When our hearts are aligned with the heart of God, what breaks His heart will break ours too. Instead of slandering others or always trying to prove ourselves superior to them, which was part of our old wicked nature, we should instead seek to serve others and be generous with what we have. The key to achieving a perfect world is that man should be in constant communion and fellowship with Christ, allowing Him to help us live in harmony and peace with others. This was how it was before the entrance of sin. Thus, only through His enabling will we be able to serve and love as He did, impartially and with the needs of the other in mind.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

Keeping Moths Away

“Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.” -1 Samuel 18:1 (NIV)

Moths are notorious for devouring clothing. Certain species of them are known to eat anything made out of materials such as wool or silk. Should an entire swarm of moths enter a closet stacked with clothes or a room full of textiles, they will feast with devastating results. Beautiful silk garments and intricately woven clothes of wool will become riddled with holes, if not completely eaten. Carpets and rugs of flawless design can become unravelled within minutes under the swarm’s voracious appetite. That is why we place mothballs in our clothes to prevent them from causing destruction as a result of their hunger. Producing a vapour that is lethal to moths, these mothballs do not allow any opportunity for a hungry moth to feast; thereby safeguarding the clothes and keeping them intact.

The King James Version beautifully renders 1 Samuel 18:1. Describing the friendship between Jonathan and David it states that “…the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” When we form friendships, we have not only allowed our lives to intersect with each other, but our very souls have become tied together like how threads are woven together in a garment. That is why it is so tragic when relationships fall apart because those threads of closeness once shared between friends have been abruptly severed. Like moths, sin will destroy the very fabric of our relationships if we have allowed it to wreak havoc in our lives. The only way we can prevent sin from causing our relationships to crumble is when we have allowed the love of Christ to transform our hearts. When His Spirit comes to dwell within us and we submit ourselves to Him, He will work out His love and righteousness within us. His presence will act like mothballs for when we choose to remain in Him there can be no room for sin to rear its head; protecting our relationships from destruction so that He may use us to pour life into the people we come in contact with.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Love Beyond The Sidelines

“Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, ‘But we knew nothing about this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?” –Proverbs 24:11-12 (NIV)

As a result of the internet, we are fed with news from around the world instantly. Shocking news items pose that dilemmatic question, “what are we going to do about it?” One popular course of action has been through the website Facebook. During the 2009 Iranian protests or the recent earthquake in Japan, Facebook pages were set up dedicated to the events in order to bring awareness. People who were sympathetic to the cause had the option of pressing the “like” button and show their support. Some have criticized the practice of “liking” causes on Facebook on the basis that it really does not do anything for the people for whom these events are a tangible reality. However, while I think this is true to an extent, I also believe it is a great way for people who are limited by distance and resources to show their solidarity with people who are halfway around the world.

Yet how often are we unwilling to get involved when we have the means to do so! Perhaps it is more comfortable for us to love in theory rather than to love in action. Anyone can say that they would give of themselves in love and service regardless of the circumstances. But when the time comes to put our words to the test, we shy away and are content with loving from the sidelines. Why this hesitance? Maybe it is because we do not want to give up what we feel is rightfully ours. Our comforts, our resources, our reputations, all of these things will prevent us from practicing the love of Christ if we have turned them into idols. It is only when we have surrendered ourselves to Christ that His love will overflow from our hearts. When we have seated Him on the throne of our lives and have allowed ourselves to be guided by His Spirit within us, He will give us His love that is fearless and absent of pride. Through Him guiding us in His love, our words of compassion will not be just words, but actions backed by the desire to see God save the lost and heal the broken.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.