fbpx
Large Print

Next Step of Love

By |2024-03-22T02:33:10-04:00March 22nd, 2024|

What would cause someone to help a competitor? For a restaurant owner named Adolfo in Wisconsin, it was the opportunity to encourage other struggling local restaurant owners adapting to COVID regulations. Adolfo knew firsthand the challenges of operating a business during a pandemic. Encouraged by another local business’ generosity, Adolfo spent his own money to purchase more than $2,000 in gift cards to give away to his customers to use at other restaurants in his community. That’s an expression of love that’s not just words but action.  

Building on the ultimate expression of love expressed by Jesus’ willingness to lay down his life for humanity (1 John 3:16), John encouraged his readers to also take the next step and put love into action. For John, to “lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters” (v. 16) meant demonstrating the same type of love exemplified by Jesus—and that would most often take the form of everyday, practical actions, such as sharing material possessions. It wasn’t enough to love with words; love required sincere, meaningful actions (v. 18).

Putting love into action can be hard because it often requires personal sacrifice or disadvantaging ourselves for another person. Enabled by God’s Spirit and remembering His lavish love for us, we can take the next step of love.

Eternal Legacy

By |2024-03-15T02:33:15-04:00March 15th, 2024|

As Dust Bowl sandstorms ravaged the USA during the Great Depression, John Millburn Davis, a resident of Hiawatha, Kansas, decided to make a name for himself. A self-made millionaire with no children, Davis might have invested in charity or economic development. Instead, at great expense, he commissioned eleven life-size statues of himself and his deceased wife to stand in the local cemetery.

“They hate me in Kansas,” Davis told journalist Ernie Pyle. Local residents wanted him to fund the construction of public facilities like a hospital, swimming pool, or park. Yet all he said was, “It’s my money and I spend it the way I please.”

King Solomon, the wealthiest man of his day, wrote, “Whoever loves money never has enough,” and “as goods increase, so do those who consume them” (Ecclesiastes 5:10–11). Solomon had grown keenly aware of the corrupting tendencies of wealth.

The apostle Paul also understood the temptation of wealth and chose to invest his life in obedience to Jesus. Awaiting execution in a Roman prison, he wrote triumphantly, “I am being poured out like a drink offering. I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:6–7).

What lasts isn’t what we chisel in stone or horde for ourselves. It’s what we give out of love for each other and for Him—the One who shows us how to love.

 

Using What God Provides

By |2024-03-08T01:33:28-05:00March 8th, 2024|

The Brisbane City Hall in Australia was a dazzling 1920s project. White stairs boasted marble from the same quarry Michelangelo used for his David sculpture. The tower reflected Venice’s St. Mark’s Basilica, and the copper dome was the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. The builders intended for a massive Angel of Peace to adorn the pinnacle, but there was a problem: no money left. Plumber Fred Johnson came to the rescue. He used a toilet cistern, an old lamp post, and bits of scrap metal to craft the iconic orb that’s crowned the tower for nearly one hundred years.

Much like Fred Johnson and his use of what he had, we can join God’s work with whatever we have—large or small. When He asked Moses to lead Israel out of Egypt, Moses balked: “What if they don’t . . . listen to me?” (4:1) God answered with a simple question: “What is that in your hand?” (v. 2). Moses held a staff, a simple stick. God told him to throw the staff on the ground, “and it became a snake” (v. 3). Then He instructed Moses to pick up the snake; and it turned back into a staff. All Moses needed to do, God explained, was carry the staff and trust Him to do the rest. Remarkably, He would use that stick in Moses’ hand to rescue Israel from the Egyptians (7:10–12, 17:5–7).

What we have might not seem like much to us, but with God, whatever we have will be enough. He takes our ordinary resources and uses them for His work.

Owner or Steward?

By |2024-03-01T01:33:04-05:00March 1st, 2024|

“Am I an owner or a steward?” The CEO of a multibillion-dollar company asked himself that question as he weighed what was best for his family. Concerned about the temptations that can come with vast wealth, he didn’t want to burden his heirs with that challenge. So he gave up his personal stake in the company. Recognizing that everything he owns belongs to God helped him make his decision to allow his family to earn a living in exchange for work while also using future profits to fund Christian ministry.

In Psalm 50:10, God tells His people, “Every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.” As the Creator of all things, God owes us nothing and needs nothing from us. “I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens,” He says (v. 9). He generously provides everything that we have and use as well as the strength and the ability to earn a living. Because He does, as the psalm shows us, He is worthy of our heartfelt worship.

God owns everything. But because of His goodness, He even chose to give Himself, entering into a relationship with any who turn to Him. Jesus “did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). When we value the Giver over the gifts and serve Him with them, we are blessed to delight in Him forever.

Loving Like Jesus

By |2024-02-16T01:33:26-05:00February 16th, 2024|

He was loved by all—those were the words used to describe Don Guiseppe of Casnigo, Italy. Don was a beloved man who rode around town on an old motorbike and always led with the greeting: “peace and good.” He worked tirelessly on behalf of the good of others. But in the last years of his life, he had health problems, and in response his community purchased a respirator for him. But when his condition grew grave, he refused the breathing apparatus, choosing instead to make it available for younger patients who needed it. Hearing of his refusal surprised no one, for it was simply in his character for a man who was loved and admired for loving others.

Loved for loving, this is the message the apostle John keeps sounding throughout his gospel. They’re like a chapel bell that tolls night and day, regardless of weather. And in John 15, they reach somewhat of a zenith, for John lays bare that it’s not being loved by all, but loving all that’s the greatest love: “to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (v. 13).

Human examples of sacrificial love always inspire us. Yet they pale in comparison to God’s great love. But don’t miss the challenge that brings, for Jesus commands: “Love each other as I have loved you.” (v. 12). Yes, love all.

Go to Top