This time of each year, more people than ever focus some of their attention, effort and resources to people who are in need.  Generosity abounds.  It’s a wonderful thing.  Wouldn’t it be great if this spirit would last all year?

This love is something that we have learned from the Lord.  “By this we know love, that He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.  But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?  Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:16-18).

We are moved by advertisements that touch our hearts with the endless needs that exist all around us and all over the world.  Yet, what moves us the most, perhaps, is when we see for ourselves someone in need.  No doubt, we are immediately guilt-stricken, but we also consider ways where we can provide some sort of relief.  For most of us, it is almost impossible to pass them by without wanting to help. 

We know, and we believe what the Lord said, as quoted by Paul, in Acts 20:35, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  And we’re familiar with Jesus’ parable of the “Good Samaritan” in Luke 10 that teaches us to do good for our neighbor.  In understanding that message, Jesus commands that we “go and do likewise!”  In illustrating the final judgment, Jesus used powerful imagery about seeing the needs of strangers and either helping them or not helping them.  He says that in providing or not providing assistance is to do that to Him.  It’s a matter of love.  We get it.  Or do we?

One who is guilty of sin which has not been forgiven of his sins, is poor, miserable, wretched, lost, dead.  This world is filled with people in this state.  What are we (what am I) doing to help them?  We can listen to the appeals, grasp the illustrations, but do we SEE them and their greatest need?  And in seeing a person’s need for God’s saving grace, what are we doing to help them?

Providing someone with food, clothing and shelter is good and something we must do.  But we have the capability of providing those in need with something greater and absolutely necessary for life.  Our motivation should not be out of guilt, but out of gratitude.  He laid down His life for us in order that we might live.  We must share that good news with others who are dying and need the same eternal life that is only available through Christ.

God’s grace is the perfect gift.  It’s the right size for everyone, it’s something needed, it’s free because the price has already been paid.  Let us love not in just word or talk, but in deed and truth.  And the thank-you notes should be sent to God: “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift” (2 Cor. 9:15).