But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. 1 John 3:6-7
Words are cheap. If our words don’t match our actions then our words mean nothing. The Apostle John takes it a step further and says if our actions don’t match Christ’s actions of serving those around us then we are not really following Him! There’s not a whole lot of gray here! John makes it clear that we are to use the resources of this world to show those around us the love of God in practical ways. To say “We love God” and then to live selfishly towards our fellow man is to be counted a liar. We show God love by how we love each other!
I’ve heard it said that we become that which we celebrate. In our self-obsessed, self-congratulatory, self-centered culture it’s no wonder 2013 was named “The Year of the Selfie”. In fact the Oxford Dictionary 2013 Word of the Year defines Selfie: ”A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.” Yet, I’m seeing another side of our culture that is hungry to do something other then serve ourselves. The ALS #icebucketchanllenge has raised millions for research in a matter of months for the largely ignored Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Sure it plays into our “look at me” ethos, but at least it’s starting to point the attention to something other then ourselves. Just last week I had the privilege of buying and delivering over a $1000 of food and supplies that were donated to the hard hit area of Pahoa after Hurricane Iselle. We were untouched here in Kona so it would have been easy to just move on with life as usual, but people all over the island of pitched in and continue to bring ice, water, food, supplies to those neighborhoods who are still without electricity and water weeks after the storm. In the Starbucks Drive-Thru I’ve noticed the #payitforward principle in action much more frequently. A person will buy their own drink and then ask to pay for the order of the car behind them. This is amazing in that there will never be any recognition, opportunity for thanks, or a way to pay back that selfless act. I then get the privilege of sharing the good news with the often weary person on their way to work and it never fails to bring a light to the eyes and a smile to the face to find out their order was paid for. Even just yesterday Jeff Guilloz, one of the amazing leaders at New Hope Legacy, surprised a family at our church whose husband has recently been through major heart surgery by trimming their lawn and yard! My neighbor Makana Delovio saved my bacon yesterday by fixing my moped that had strangely stopped running while I was on my to work at Starbucks. I celebrate these #unselfie acts in a #selfie world to show that, whether Christian or not, all are called to use what we’ve been given to help those around us. Of course Christians more then anyone in our culture should be known as the most generous people around because of what we’ve been given. This generosity in turn is proof that God’s love abides in us! I celebrate this because I become what I celebrate and I want those around me to know me for my #unselfie moments rather then my #selfie ones. How awesome would it be if at the end of 2014 a new word was entered into the Oxford Dictionary: Unselfie-”A photograph that one has taken of someone else in the act of service for another, typically taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.”
Thank You Lord for loving me the way You do with such generous abandon. You lavish Your love upon me in a way that compels me to share it with others. Forgive me for the times I have become immersed in pursuit of self and want I want rather then what You want. I can say I love You and sing I love You, but until I show I love You through serving those around me it’s just empty noise. Thank You for awakening my senses to see that You have called me to live in a spirit of generosity rather then scarcity. This is, after all, what really shows the world who You really are!