Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help. Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.”Isaiah 58:7-8 (NLT)
There has been a post going around on social media. It is a picture of a sign out front of a church. It has a very simple phrase: “Just love everyone. I’ll sort them out later. – God.”
While there can be endless debates about the details of how one is saved (It’s through faith in Jesus, BTW), the message is so simply brilliant that it is causing a stir in the faith community. Most Christians would agree with this sign. The thought even ran through my head when I saw it, “Of course I love everybody. Duh!” But, there’s more to it than this.
Love can’t just be spoken. It must be acted upon. Love in word only is a Hallmark card meant to make someone feel good, but not really solve any of the issues they face. Spoken love must be followed by active love.
The Israelites were facing exactly this idea. They said they loved God, and they were trying to prove it by making sure they did all of their religious rituals perfectly. They fasted. They prayed. They kept the Sabbath perfectly. They gave their tithes and offerings. They read from the scriptures. Yet, God’s blessings were missing from their community. Why?
God sent the prophet Isaiah to tell them why. And, this is where our verses today come into play, “Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help. Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.” In other words, put your love for God into action by showing others love – not just in word, but in deed. In short, we don’t experience God’s blessings because we don’t bless others.
So, today, and every day, look for those who need to experience love in action. Look for those who have nothing, and give them something. Look for those who are feeling down or lonely and make a new friend. Look for those who need to experience hope, joy, and mercy, and show them Jesus.
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