Love Your Neighbor
By Angel Crutcher-Powell
Verses To Read:
Has God ever put something on your heart, but you rationalize that you didn’t have the time, money, patience, or whatever other excuse you could come up with? Maybe He was asking you to serve at church or help others in need, but you felt there was enough to deal with at home or work, and you thought your time would be better spent there. Maybe the thought of going to a faraway land to help others was intriguing, but you had work to do and family to tend to.
Remember the story in the Bible of Jonah? God told him to go preach in Nineveh, but he refused. He eventually did what God asked but only after God sent a big fish to swallow him and spit him out on the shore. 1 Peter 4:10-11 (NIV) states “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.” God has blessed us all with abilities to do His good works and He wants us to use them.
When my kids were ages 10 and 14, I felt God calling me to go on a mission trip to the other side of the world. My family and friends thought that I was crazy taking my kids to such an impoverished area so far away. Some said that the money I spent to travel there could be better spent here in our city. I prayed and asked God’s guidance, and I listened to hear what He wanted me to do. We went and had a wonderful trip; we were able to bless children in an orphanage and we all learned so much about God and ourselves that we would have never learned if we had stayed home.
Our abilities should be faithfully used in serving others, whether it is close to home or far away. We all have gifts and abilities given to us by God. God, the creator of the universe, has called us to be a part of His work and to bring justice and kindness to His creation. What a joy and a privilege! The work ahead is challenging, but God will be with us.
Romans 12:6-8 (NIV) states, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy. If it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching then teach, if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” We need to remember that our talents come from God, and we should use them to glorify Him. We are not all given the same gifts, but what we are given should be used to serve others. He might be calling you to help serve at church on Sunday, or He might be asking you to serve in the mission field in a faraway land. Have you stopped to ask Him what He wants for your life? Ask Him to show you, and to guide you in the direction He has planned for your life. Look at the abilities God has blessed you with and use them to show God’s love to others and help bring them to know Him through your good works.
Questions To Consider:
1. Have you identified what unique gifts and abilities God has blessed you with that might be different than the gifts and abilities of the others around you? If not, have you asked God to reveal those to you?
2. Have you used those gifts and abilities to further God’s kingdom and to bring others to know Him and love Him?
Prayer to Pray:
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me and blessing me with unique abilities. Please reveal those abilities and the areas of my life where you want me to use those abilities to bring others to you. Please help me be a good steward of all my resources, including my time and money, so that I use everything I have to show others your love through me. Help me to hear your voice, and to be able to ignore the distractions in life that waste my time. Lord, help others to come to know you through me. Amen