“We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and  we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.  But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?  Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.” – 1 John 3:16-18

  Imagine standing on an empty beech on a bright sunny day looking out over the beautiful calm blue waters to the horizon. As you look where the water and sky line seem to meet, someone comes up beside you and stands there, you noticed the beads of sweat on their brow, they look a little disheveled and stressed,perhaps you know them and are glad to see them but you continue after a brief moment of idle chat with them about basically nothing, “niceties.” You then reach down and pull an ice cold bottle of water from your ice chest filled with such cold bottles full of water. You continue to look away at the horizon, as you guzzle down the refreshing liquid which invigorates and refreshes your thirst, but all the time keeping your gaze fixed on that horizon.

“What are you looking at?” your new guest who has come into your life asks of you. Without looking at him you speak as you stare and tell him you are looking for your life purpose, you are looking for God to send you some great work or ministry to lead or be part of. “Hmm” says your new friend as he trudges off, shoulders drooped … and walks through the sand leaving footprints and eventually he disappears.

Your gaze fixed, at times you become a little restless, frustrated, then another person shows up, and asks for some help, and then another and before you know it people are coming to you who are seeking your help, but like unwelcome flies, you as it were take a flyswatter and swat them away…as some of them are so irritating,…demanding of your time and resources, and who have definite needs, you can see that! And though you politely tell them you will be “praying” for them, you hope they will go away. Some of them seem to come again and again to you, sometimes looking for help, other times you can seethey do need help. You can help them you know that, “But … but…but…” you reason with yourself. You are Looking to God for some great work and you keep looking away to the horizon of the future for His “Great work” to be sent to you. Finally as night draws closer, the sun going down and the skies and daylight gradually disappear, the sun sinking…the evening cooling and the skies turning grayer, you find yourself sitting plopped down on the beech disappointed and finally speaking to God, “Lord, You know my heart, how I have wanted to serve You. My life is coming to a close and yet you have not given me anything to do. I am frustrated, and exasperated, why did You not give me something to do for You?”

With that you look down to the open page on your Bible which is lying open and read, from 1 John 3:16,
” We know love by this, that he laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

But whoever has the worlds goods and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?

Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.”

Your mind flashes back to your day, the first man who came and stood beside you, beads of sweat on his brow, you remembered he looked disheveled, you remember the weariness on his face, you remember stooping down and pulling a cold bottle of water from the ice chest and being refreshed and invigorated. You remember the ice chest filled with such bottles. You remember thinking at the time, the man looked thirsty, you saw those beads, you had the bottles in the ice chest, you did tell him you would be “praying for him” and feeling very snug about your own spirituality, yet a little guilty as you knew you had what he needed, one lousy bottle of cold water, but you reasoned, you would need these for the future, you were being a “good steward” after all, God knew you could not meet everyone’s “NEEDS” but now the Light of Gods Word was beginning to pierce your heart as the Holy Spirit began to shine in the recess’s of your selfish and loveless heart.

A gentle breeze coolly brushes across your face, and you are reminded of a preacher of old who sat under a tree, pouting and angry because God had shown mercy on a people whom he himself had no such concern for, yes the preacher Jonah.

As you thank God for His kind breeze, the gentle breeze turns the pages of your Bible and as you look down at the pages as they turn in the wind they stop at a passage, you look down and read the words of JESUS CHRIST, in Matthew 25:34-40 which say;

“For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave ME something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited ME in: naked, and you clothed ME; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to ME.”

“Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see YOU hungry, and feed YOU, or thirsty, and give YOU something to drink? And when did we see YOU a stranger, and invite YOU in, or naked and clothe YOU? When did we see YOU sick, or in prison and COME TO YOU?

The King will answer and say to them, “Truly, I say to you, to the extent you DID IT TO ONE OF THESE brothers of MINE, even the least of them, YOU DID IT UNTO ME.”

You pick up the Bible, blow off some of the sand that had landed on it and continue to read, ” Then He will also say to those on His Left, ‘depart from ME, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry, and You gave ME NOTHING to eat; I was thirsty, and YOU gave ME NOTHING to drink” I was a stranger, and YOU DID NOT invite ME in; naked and YOU DID NOT clothe ME; sick, and in prison and YOU DID NOT visit ME.’

Then they themselves will answer, ‘Lord WHEN did WE SEE YOU hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and DID NOT take CARE of YOU?’

“Then He will answer them,‘ Truly I say to you, to the Extent that YOU DID NOT DO it to one of These, YOU DID NOTdo it to ME.

For so long you had looked to the future, longing for a ministry, something to do for the Lord, some great ministry, hoping and praying and anticipating, but like a person standing on the beach looking out, you failed to see those around you whom God had brought into your life and afforded you the opportunity to be part of the greatest ministry…Ministering and serving Him by ministering and lovingly serving and SHARING what He has entrusted to you namely, this “worlds goods.” You have lived as though they were your own, perhaps even bragged and prided yourself as you told others how you have become a self made man, not realizing God has giving you not only the capacity for wealth {Deut 8: 18} but also the Privilege to share with those in “need” – {Eph 4:28;1 John 3:16-17; Heb 6:10; *James 2:14-17}

What happened? You closed the door or your heart by choice! In 1 John 3:16 you remember the word “close” means to “SLAM THE DOOR of your heart” to slam the door of compassion upon those whom you had the ability to meet their need. Indeed, the people who have come to you in need, tells more about you than them. They simply had a need for this worlds goods. You had the opportunity to share those bottles … but you “slammed the door of compassion” and in doing do to them, you did to Jesus Himself.

“Brethren, let us not love in word or tongue but in deed and truth.” 
Your ministry is around you and sometimes right in front of you. Your opportunity to express love often comes in the privilege to meet the needs of others with the resources God has entrusted you with as His steward, and in doing so express love to Him {Matt 25:39-40}; {John 14:21}. Do you possess this “worlds goods” or does your heart show, “this worlds goods” posses you?

To whom much is given much is expected of … if you are faithful in little God will entrust you with more. The ultimate judgment for the follower of the Lord Jesus is not a judgment of condemnation. For the Bible teaches us “therefore there is NO Condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” {Rom 8:1}. For the Lord Jesus bore our condemnation upon His own body on the cross. The Judgment will be about Faithfulness to Opportunity,{2 Cor 5:10}

The above little story, could well sum up some of us, reaching, praying, looking discouraged because we are not part of some “Great work for God” and so we pout, we hoard and we fail…to Love….and testify to the World, we are followers of the Lord Jesus- {John 13:34-35}

As I look at my own life, I do not want to come to the end and as the sun sets find myself sitting on a beech with a life of missed opportunities looking for a ministry and failing to minister in the ministry God has placed before me … to those in need when I have the capacity to meet those “needs” and know in doing so I am ministering to JESUS CHRIST!

Some might object and say, “Its not in the budget!” No, perhaps it is not, but it is in the Bible! Who will master you, your budget or the Bible?

Others might say, “But I wont have enough!” Again the God of the Universe speaks,” And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that ALWAYS HAVING ALL SUFFICIENCY, YOU MAY HAVE AN ABUNDANCE FOR EVERY GOOD DEED… Now He who SUPPLIES seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness, you will be enriched in everything FOR ALL LIBERALITY, which through us is producing THANKSGIVING to God…because of the PROOF GIVEN by this MINISTRY, they will GLORIFY GOD for your obedience to your confession of the Gospel of Christ and for the LIBERALITY of YOUR Contribution TO THEM and to ALL…” { 2 Cor 9:8-14}

Look again at the above passage. Needs are met… God gives more to help meet needs, ALWAYS HAVING ALL SUFFICIENCY, YOU may have an Abundance for EVERY GOOD DEED. God says you will ALWAYS have enough to meet the need. Together they gave out of their poverty, Collectively because Individually they chose to give, others had their needs met, God received THANKSGIVING and God received GLORY.

Have you ever wanted to Glorify God? Of COURSE YOU HAVE, THAT’S YOUR NEW HEARST DESIRE… This verse showsHow to PRACTICALLY! As you meet the needs of others…JOYFULLY, GLADLY ND GRACIOUSLY, THE People who were in need, are comforted and they THANK God and they Glorify God because of the Reality of your Profession in the Proof Given by your ministry.

I remember hearing the story of a young missionary receiving a check via a church for three dollars. You may think that is so little, but friend consider, many would say “that is too small to send to the missionary.” Some of us would not want to send it because they would be “embarrassed” as such a “pitiful amount.” But that is Pride! For the one receiving it, it was three dollars more than he had … and with it and the giving of others his needs were being met and he could keep going with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Recently one of my younger boys, received 20 dollars as a gift, and for a little fellow that was a “bundle”…he could go to the dollar store and buy so many things! I reminded him that it was the Lord who had someone send this amount to him and he needed to seek to give to others. He asked for a list of missionaries, at this stage he had already spent five dollars. I gave him a list of SIX missionaries and asked him to pick out ONE and Pray who to send the amount of his choice to. Now keep in mind he is only seven years old.

He took the list and pondered and later came back to me and handed me the list … beside EACH OF THE SIX Missionaries was a dollar and cents amount beside each one … some missionary will receive a four dollar plus some cents and another will receive a dollar plus some cents each one will receive Something. What did that little seven year old boy do? He gave SACRIFICIALLY… he Gave JOYFULLY… he Determined from his heart what he should give-He gave according to the will of God- “{2 Cor 9: 6-7}…Don’t you think that little boy would have liked to have some toys to be able to spend his money on? I am sure, but he gladly made the choice … and revealed something from the Bible, “where your Treasure is there will your Heart be also” Jesus said in Matt 6:19-21

Beloved, you will always have enough to do good with. How often we quote Phil 4:19 where Paul said to the church at Phillipi, ” And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in Glory in Christ Jesus.” The verse is in reference to those who meet the needs of others. Paul did not seek the gift but the benefit it would be to them, Paul spoke to them of the benefit it would mean to them in Phil 4:17- “Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account.”

Someone has to have a need for someone else to meet it and in doing so TESTIFY to the Love of Christ and that you are a Follower of Him- John 13:34

And someone else’s need is your opportunity to Love the Lord by doing for others as He takes personally as He said in…MATT 25:40 –“To the Extent that YOU DID NOT DO it to one of These, YOU DID NOT Do it to ME.’

There will always be people with needs, and some have them because they have hit hard times, who do not have the ability to meet their own, some even because of sin … but the issue of their need at times express the Revelation of your own heart to You. And perhaps revealing the GREATER Need in your own heart, where you “slam the door” on compassion and fail to minister to Him, because of the condition of your own heart…a heart of indifference…a heart of covetousness, a heart devoid of love for the Lord Jesus.

Or perhaps you find yourself in “need,” don’t feel bad or be embarrassed. Don’t hinder someone from meeting that need, who wants to. For you would be robbing them of a blessing and hindering them from ministering to the Lord Jesus Himself {For He said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive”- Acts 20:35} Learn to Receive and thank God and Glorify God for His care for you and yours!

Is there anyone whom you know has a need. And GOD HAS GIVEN you the capacity to meet that need, and you are unwilling? Perhaps like the person in the story you see them as disruptions rather than opportunities to minister to them and express love to the Lord and His people.

Have you slammed the door of compassion on those whom God has brought your way? Are you possessed by “your” possessions or do you realize they are Gods and you are His steward?

Is there someone before you presently, whom you have heard or seen their “Need” and you are wondering what to do? God answers to you and me, “But whoever has the worlds goods and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?

Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.” and as you meet the “need” you can be sure you have Ministered to Jesus Himself {Matt 25:40} and that He does not forget {Heb 6:10}  “…. to the extent you DID IT TO ONE OF THESE brothers of MINE, even the least of them, YOU DID IT ONTO ME.”- JESUS CHRIST

Are you day dreaming about and desiring some “great” ministry and missing the “GREAT MINISTRY” of opportunities God is placing before you in the form of people in need with whom He has entrusted you with HIS resources to meet those needs.

In the way you treat Gods people is in Exact proportion to the way you treat the Lord Jesus. Are you serving Him, or are you Day Dreaming as the person on the beach?

TO THOSE OF YOU Who are expressing Love
Hebrews 6:10 says concerning you – “God is fair; He will not forget the work you did and the love YOU SHOWED HIM BY HELPING His PEOPLE .”

Who do you “see” today who has a need and you have the resources, the capacity to meet that need? Perhaps in looking out in the future for a Ministry , you have failed to see the Present ministry God has placed before you… people in need.