December 17, 2022

Miriam Listiak
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
1 John 3:16-17

When I was in junior high, I went to an early morning “Jesus club” that was led by some of my neighbors. During one holiday season, we had a guest speaker who came and filled our tiny meeting room with boxes. I was so excited to see what was in them that I was completely distracted from what the speaker was saying—probably something similar to this exact verse above.

At the end of the message, the speaker opened the boxes and started handing out Pillow Pets!! I couldn’t believe it because these amazing feats of engineering—a pillow with a face on it, haha!—were all the rage, and I didn’t have one yet. Unfortunately, the speaker went on to say that these gifts were not for us, but for the person on our hearts that we knew was in need. Darn. I prayed and prayed for God to just let me keep it and ignored some of the opportunities He gave me to help others. I even waited long enough that someone else gave theirs to the first friend I thought of—which I, of course, took as a sign to keep the gift all to myself.

Now that God has changed my heart, this story is a good reminder to me of what it means to hold back from someone in need. God never holds back His love for us and gives it no matter the circumstance. As His image bearers, we are called to do the same with our time, talents, and treasures to glorify Him and serve His people.