“You Only Get What You Give”

(James 2: 14-17, NLT) 14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? 17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.

Recently, I saw a need within a family that was far greater than what I could supply, yet their situation would not leave my heart and mind, so I decided to take action.  I began to reach out to people, and I was absolutely stunned by the response that I got on behalf of this family who had captured my heart.  I had become anxious — worrying about “how” and the Lord kindly urged me, “Just ask.”  So that’s what I did…and He did not disappoint.  Money and donations came absolutely flooding in, and I am still overwhelmed when I think of it all.  People were steadily asking me what they could do to help out, and I know that this was a direct response to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  The need was quickly supplied — exceedingly and OVER-abundantly!   God did that, and He was able to do so because of His children putting their faith into action. 

You may see a need, have compassion in your heart for the situation, and even consider the ways that you could help, but without the actual administration of care and concern — by ministering to the physical needs through provision, shelter, resources and attention — your compassion is a farce.  Fake.  Phony.  …it is dead and useless.

Compassion is that compound emotion that should move our hearts so deeply that we have no choice but to take action.  An extension of love, compassion will set our minds, our hearts, and our lives into motion — moving forward in our faith, knowing that through our own sacrifice there is a greater reward for all who are a part of the activation of faith and love. 

(1 John 3: 16-19, NLT) 16 We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? 18 Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. 19 Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.

As children of God who are devoted to our faith in and love for Him, we must be so in tune with His heart that the things which grieve and move Him, are the same things that break our own hearts and push us face first into the busy, sometimes messy, yet always joyful activity that is true, sacrificial compassion.  And when we do respond, doing so together — as a unified body that represents Christ to the world — miraculous things take place.  We are never left wanting when we put our faith into action. 

Luke 6:38 says, “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank you for this reminder today that simply noticing a need and mentioning it to you is not always enough.  Help me to be more aware of the ways in which I can make sacrifices in order to help lift the burdens of the poor and oppressed people that I encounter.  Let me always be a light in the darkness, representing You with love and compassion that comes directly from Your heart.  Amen. 

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