ODJ: Love in Action

September 26, 2016 

READ: 1 John 3:11-18 

Let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions (v.18).

Heather is a graduate from the esteemed Yale University who lives in a trailer park in a rural part of the US. How did someone like her end up living there? Well, it’s not because she’s fallen on hard economic times.

She lives there by choice.

Heather could have landed a lucrative job that afforded her a comfortable life in a dream home. Instead, her mission is to help some of the most vulnerable get out of poverty. Together with other members of her church and community, Heather offers friendship, mentoring, morning prayer times, and a reliable car that starts.

To Heather, those entrenched in poverty aren’t statistics; they’re real people with first and last names. When she looks at the poor, she sees their strengths and their potential where others might only see failure and insurmountable odds.

Why does she do this? Heather is a follower of Jesus who believes she’s been called to shape her life after her Savior and Lord, particularly through service to those who haven’t enjoyed the same comforts, resources, and privileges she has.

Heather’s humble service to those in poverty reminds me of a profound question once posed by another follower of Jesus. After exhorting his readers to live a life of sacrifice modeled by Jesus (1 John 3:16), John asked, “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?” (v.17).

Following Jesus isn’t only costly and uncomfortable, but it can also look crazy to a world that lives out a different set of values. May we reach out to help those in need today—participating with God in His saving and restoring work in our broken world (v.18).

—Jeff Olson

365-day plan: Luke 23:32-49

Read Philippians 2:4 and think about what it means to open our eyes and heart to the needs of others. 
How can you show Christ’s love to someone in need with both your words and your actions? In what ways did Jesus sacrifice Himself so that you could be rescued from spiritual poverty?