When I was in college, I remember a particularly frustrating meeting that I had to sit through. The main goal of the meeting was to set up a service opportunity to help a local children’s home. Our meeting started out well enough but soon we got so caught up in planning every little detail that we never actually got anything accomplished. I left frustrated because all we had done was just talk about helping instead of actually doing anything.
What’s even more frustrating is that I still find myself doing the same thing over 17 years later. It’s easy to talk about loving other people but it’s hard, and often inconvenient, to actually back it up with action. There is nothing wrong with trying your best to plan and set goals for your project but, at some point, you have to actually put the plan into action. In this verse, John is urging his readers to ACTUALLY love others with their actions instead of just words.
Imagine your best friend falls down and badly scrapes their knee. What would be more helpful: talking about how you plan to help them or actually helping them bandage up their wound? As we see the life of Jesus in the Bible, we see him constantly moving towards people who needed help. Our call is to follow in His footsteps by ministering to others in the same way. Instead of just talking about helping others, try matching your words with action. Your carefully crafted plans might get messed up but at least you’ll be helping and serving others who need help. Martin Luther had a great quote that speaks to this.
He said, “God doesn’t need your good works, but your neighbor does.” Start small, start serving, and watch what God teaches you. What opportunities do you have to serve today?
– Rev. Dave Latham is the pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church.