16 This is how we know love: Jesus laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 But if someone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but refuses to help—how can the love of God dwell in a person like that?
18 Little children, let’s not love with words or speech but with action and truth.
Have you ever felt like Rocky during the 15th round in one of his fights? Staggering about, arms drooping, bloody, just barely hanging on.
That’s the way I’d been feeling 11 months into Nancy’s illness, with no improvement in her vision and worsening hearing loss. On top of that, Nancy was no longer working—then our water heater burst.
On top of all that we had to replace our roof in early January. I know we’d received prayers, tons of them. The fact that I was still standing, or kneeling maybe, is evidence that God answers prayer.
But sometimes we really just needed a hug from God.
That’s what happened when my preacher called one night. Dan told me that he had an envelope with my name on it and asked if I wanted to get it. When I arrived, I asked who it was from. Dan said to open it and inside was a piece of paper with the words “Love Distributed” written on it.
Love Contributed – Love Distributed is basically a charity-type program run by the members of the church I belonged to at the time. If someone had a need, they wrote it on a card and posted on a bulletin board. If someone had the means, they’d take the card and fulfill it.
About three weeks after our roof was finished, I noticed a card on the board with our name and that we needed a roof. I have no idea who’d put it up because no one in my family did.
Dan thinks it was an angel—and who am I to disagree?
Anyway, we already had our roof, though I had to borrow some money to do it. So, I took the card down without really thinking much about it.
Inside the note was a cashier’s check that paid off our loan for the new roof.
Naturally, it was anonymous.
I wish I could adequately describe the feeling the rushed over me. I felt very humbled, and I felt like crying. But mostly, I felt loved.
I was blown away. Somebody loved me enough to do this huge thing for my family. And they loved me and God enough that they didn’t need to get credit for it. Oh, to love like that.
The New Testament has 20 “love one another” passages in it. Not included in that list is 1 John 3:18: “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”
John tells us how in verse 16 and 17: “This is how we know love: Jesus laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. But if someone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but refuses to help—how can the love of God dwell in a person like that?”
I felt like I was going down but was extended a hand up. It was a life-making moment for me. It was a life-defining one as well. I try to fulfill what Jesus told the expert in the law, “Go and do likewise.”
While I would love to know who the giver was, I also love the idea that it could always be the person sitting next to me during any given Sunday service. And that thought helps me love the folks around me more.
by Rick Reed
For Pondering & Prayer
I like that Jesus calls us little children in verse 18 and tells us not love with words or speech but with action and truth. It’s a lesson I need to hear, again and again.
Prayer: Dear Lord, once more I ask you to help me love, as you love. It seems so simple, but it is so hard, at least for me. Amen.