Give whatcha got.

"Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions."
--1 John 3:18 (emphasis added).

I've recently had one of those deja vu moments where a topic keeps coming up within the same day or two. It's a freaky type of experience, but I feel like I'm in the process of learning an important lesson:

Thursday-- She came into the office while I was working, crying about neck pain. Her friend was at her side the entire time until someone came in ready to drive her to the hospital. She consoled her and said, "Text me when you get back? ... I love you." 

That is where the conviction started. The way in which she cared for her friend was inspiring. Am I that way toward my friends? Do I make it obvious to my friends and those around me that I sincerely care?

Saturday-- YouVersion's Bible verse of the day was 1 John 3:18. 

Since I've arrived at Au Sable Institute, I've met a lot of great people, but it seems like I barely know any of them: I only have a face to a name that I constantly saw in the office while working. It's kind of like the saying, "Still water runs deep," but rather than a lake, I'm a white water rafting river, barely giving anything a chance to settle. 

Sunday-- After dinner, I had a conversation with a friend about giving. 

I'm 50% Dutch, and Dutch people are known to have a bad rep about being penny pinchers. I admittedly say that I am quite frugal with my money, so when he tells me that I can buy a bracelet for $7.50 to help raise money for the cause to help stop childhood bullying, I turn away in disgust. Our conversation then went to the idea of tithes and offerings (one of my top ten pet peeves--I'd have to think about it for a little while in order to tell you the other nine--is when pastors develop sermons around the idea of offerings and how we should give...), and that is when his responses hit home for me: "I understand that you may not be able to 'give 10% to church,' but have a giving heart. Give whatever you feel convicted by God to give. The idea of giving is not all monetary, though. You can give your time to people, give them a drive to town if they need it, etc."

Later that night-- Some of my devotional: "You must be willing to give when others take, to love when others hate, to help when others abuse. By giving up your own rights in order to serve others, you will one day receive everything God has in store for you" (emphasis added). 

Coincidence? I think not. We are called to live like Christ. Not at any point, to my knowledge, in the Gospels of the New Testament does Jesus command His disciples to donate to causes or pray for people while they were laying in the safety of their homes. He called them to go out and cast away demons, cure the sick, and heal the wounded. When Jesus walked by blind men, He didn't call out to them and say, "I love you, I'm praying for you!" No, He got down on His knees and showed that He loved them by giving them sight.

What does this mean for me? This is all fine and dandy, but it doesn't really mean anything until it's applied to life. We may not have 10% to give, but God has blessed us with individual personalities and traits that others may not have. Reaching out to help others, being a shoulder to cry on if need be, empathizing when necessary. We can't just go around saying, "I love you!" Love is a strong word and ought to be treated as such. Being intentional about showing love for our friends, enemies, family members, and complete strangers will not only change their lives but may also change the lives of others around you.

Society today is dark with all of the evil that is constantly plastered on front pages of newspapers or tickers on news stations. Love will leave a mark when we shine God's light wherever we go. 

God bless! 

Here's your five minutes of fame, C.B.J.B. (that's as close as I'll get to not being ambiguous. You're welcome ^_^)! Thanks for being that cool friend who first threatens my employment status but turns around and is willing to have genuine and intelligent conversations with a crazy (but can has serious moments, I promise you) ginger like me. Mkay, five minutes are over. I hope you enjoyed it. :P