If you can run a marathon, you can run a 5k. If you have served as a chef in a five-star restaurant, you can make mac and cheese. If you have mastered the works of Tchaikovsky on the piano, you can play “Chopsticks”. The logic behind these statements is so clear that it seems a bit silly to articulate it. Yet, it is similar to the reasoning that John uses in today’s reading.
Jesus provides us with the perfect example of love (v. 16). He willingly and selflessly died for us. As followers of Jesus, “we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters” (v. 16). This is a high and holy calling and one that requires a heroic level of commitment to Christ. Yet, John understood that while we are called to willingly give our lives for others, we rarely will be called upon to do so. So, John argues from the greater to the lesser. If we are willing to lay down our lives for one another, surely it means that if we see a fellow believer in need, we will give to meet that need (v. 17).
This week we are examining the gift of purpose we have received in Christ. One of the responsibilities Jesus gave us is caring for the poor. Meeting the material needs of the poor and needy runs all through Scripture (Deut. 15:7, 11; Ps. 37:21; Prov. 14:21; James 2:14–17). By caring for the poor, we demonstrate the love of God to a watching world. While the gospel message needs to be spoken in words, those words should also line up with our actions (v. 18).
>> How can you care for the poor or needy today? As a follow-up to Christmas with all of its plenty, consider a way you can meet the needs of someone else today. The call to help the poor is not simply a command we need to grudgingly follow, but a gift of responsibility.
It is difficult to wrap our mind around the sacrifice You made on our behalf, Lord Jesus. Your sacrifice set an example that is difficult for us to follow. Help us live today with Your spirit of humility and compassion.