Sometimes I think we can get our head stuck in the clouds. We make living for Jesus too mystical, abstract, and theoretical. We spend more time with Christians talking about how to love people rather than actually going out into the world and doing it.
We make it complicated. But really, it’s not complicated at all.
Jesus says to feed the hungry. Okay, let’s go feed the hungry. Jesus says to give water to the thirsty. Okay, let’s go give water to the thirsty. Jesus says to care for the sick, to welcome outsiders, to give to the poor, to clothe the naked, to love our neighbors. Okay, let’s go do it then!
I was recently confronted with this as I read about when Jesus brought Jairus’s dead daughter back to life. Check out what happens immediately after:
“But he took her by the hand and said, ‘My child, get up!’ Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat.”
Isn’t that awesome? And kind of hilarious? Jesus is like, “Yes, I just raised her from the dead. But here’s the deal. She’s hungry! Let’s get this girl some food!”
You see, the gospel is practical. Christ demands that we empty ourselves to meet the needs of other people—spiritual, yes, but physical, mental, social, and emotional too.
Here are some daunting statistics about the world we live in.
- 22,000 children die every day due to poverty.
- 80% of people live on less than $10 per day.
- 22% of people live on less than $1.25 per day.
- 1.1 billion people have inadequate access to clean water.
- 2.6 billion people lack basic sanitation.
And here are a few about our own country—the people doing life beside us.
- 21% of all children are in poverty.
- 560,000 people are homeless.
- 48 million people live on less than $11,000 per year.
Rather than talking about how sad all of this as we sit with our friends in our living rooms, let’s actually do something about it. And no, it probably won’t be something extraordinary. It may be as simple as giving a hungry girl something to eat. But that’s the practical love that Jesus asks of us. That’s why He tells us to love our neighbor.
Because one neighbor at a time, our world begins to look different.
When we practically demonstrate self-denying love, Christ is exalted. The world is compelled to curiosity. Vague, head-in-the clouds, sending-good-thoughts-your-way love doesn’t make anyone curious. In fact, it affirms a lot of the lies that get thrown around about what it means to be a Christian.
Give everything, and you won’t lose anything. Because in this backwards sort of way, Jesus says we’ll truly find our lives when we lose them for His sake.
“Let us not love in word and speech, but in action and truth.”
— 1 John 3:18