My eyes have been opened to something in the last few years. Christianity is more than standing up for the Truth. It is more than going to church. And it is more than giving 10 percent of your income to the church…or to charities. Christianity is more than a desire to please God with our choices in entertainment. And it is more than how we dress. While all of these things are an important part of the fruit a true Christian shows, for some reason I always missed another really big part.
I have missed LOVE. Love for others that is self-sacrificing. Love that is giving at the expense of my time. I first started to realize this lack in my life when I was introduced to some lovely women who showed me something different. They have such hearts of love. They are constantly giving up their personal time, their money, and even some much needed peace and quiet to meet the needs of one another. If someone needs help they are the first to step up. Oftentimes, they even anticipate needs and meet them before they are even spoken.
You see, I have grown up always knowing this is important in theory. And, in fact, my husband and I find giving financially a true blessing. But time? In the midst of our busy schedule? Now that is something else. But how we spend our time is just as revealing of where our treasure is as where we give our money (Matthew 6:21).
This principle became even more clear to us after reading David Platt’s book Radical (Taking Your Faith Back from the American Dream). How are we spending the precious hours God has given us? How are we furthering God’s Kingdom? How are we making a difference for eternity? Is the eternal destiny of those around us important to us? Is there a way we could touch just a few lives by sacrificial giving of our time?
I know it is difficult to feel like it makes a difference. It often feels overwhelming. There are so many needs–both physical and spiritual–here in America and in all other parts of the world. But I remember a story I heard once. There was a father and daughter walking along the beach when they came upon thousands of sea stars. The poor things had been stranded by low tide upon the beach and could not get back to the ocean. The father started throwing the sea stars one by one back into the ocean. The little girl looked up at him and asked him why he was doing that…he would never really make a difference, given the thousands of sea stars still stranded on the beach. As he looked at his little girl he said something very profound: “It makes a difference to the one I threw back in.”
It makes a difference to that one. Let’s look for the opportunities God gives us and step up and embrace them. We all have them every day. Let’s step outside ourselves and offer smiles and genuine warmth to the grumpy cashier. Let’s find ways to volunteer, not only to meet physical needs, but to share the marvelous gospel. Let’s notice the hurting and desperate people that are attending our churches, even if they are bravely wearing a smile. Let’s make conversations with co-workers opportunities to turn the conversation towards eternal things. Let’s not be afraid to speak of our love for our Savior while sitting on the sidelines watching our kids play soccer. Let’s not be afraid to share the love of Christ with our neighbors. And let’s remember that Jesus loved others with his time, his resources…and his life! He loved them so much he wasn’t afraid to offend them by speaking the Truth. His is the only example we have that is perfect in every way. Let’s follow His example as we go about our daily activities today.
P.S. I really recommend the book. Here is a link to cut and paste–