What you have your neighbors need ...
I have a specialized weeding tool and last week I just couldn’t find it. But I wasn’t worried, because I was pretty sure I knew where to look. (You can buy one: at Lowes, it’s a “Soil Ripper.” At Ace Hardware, it’s a “Garden Weasel.” On Amazon, it’s a “Ratchet Cultivator” – it’s the BEST weeding tool I’ve ever owned!)
I am rich in love, especially given that my neighbors are like an extended family. Between about 4 or 5 families on our street, it’s as if we collectively own a hardware store. But what is certain is that if I don’t have a tool, one of my neighbors does. And if I have something one of them needs, they all have access to where I keep my tools. That’s what had happened to my hand tiller.
My point? What you have, your neighbors need … Except I’m referring to what you have in Christ.
If you are a Christian, you have trusted Jesus to change things in your life that you cannot change, to do things in you and for you that you simply cannot do. Therefore, you have benefits. First, you have forgiveness. Every wrong thing you have done, are doing and ever will do has been cleansed by His death in your place. And since you have been forgiven totally, you have the ability to forgive others, and you’re called to do so. Everyone needs to learn how to forgive, and you know how.
You have power for heart transformation. Jesus does not merely promise to forgive us; He guarantees that He will change us. He calls it birth from above, new creation, resurrection, or new life in Him. So as others face personal challenges – that you and I have also faced – you face them with the additional power of God’s own Spirit dwelling in you.
You have hope. For almost everyone in this sin-cursed world, there’s a point where they hit a wall. They cannot go on, they can’t solve a problem, they run out of motivation, and they despair. You have the assurance of Jesus’ ability to overcome because of His resurrection from death and hell! He can turn darkness to light! He can do what’s impossible for anyone who trusts in Him.
And you have love because Jesus has promised to be with us always (never leaving nor forsaking). He has poured out His love into our hearts through His Spirit (Romans 5). And He has given you a place in His family, the Church. In a world full of lonely and desperate people, you have brothers and sisters, along with Jesus’ pledge that no one can snatch you out of His hand.
So who around you needs what you have? And remember why you have it in the first place … we only have all that we have because the Lord mercifully and generously gave it to us. We earned hell. He has given us staggering privileges, crowned most of all by Himself. He has freely given to us nothing less than Himself. So, if you’re distracted by the question of whether or not your neighbor deserves to have what you have, just remember why you have anything. Jesus said, “Freely you have received. Freely give!”
Things to pray for:
- Gratitude. Give thanks to the Lord for how richly He has blessed you, especially in Christ.
- Vision. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you eyes to see and ears to hear the needs all around you. Pray for the ability to genuinely grasp where people truly are.
- A generous heart. Read 2 Corinthians 9:8-12 and ask the Lord to give you a sense of how deeply He has resourced you for His mission of sharing with others as He has with you.
- Hope. Ask the Father to fill you with hope because of His love and power vs. any obstacle in your heart or this world.