Church Special Programs
Our Lord Jesus Christ loves the poor, the needy and the downtrodden, the blinds, the lepers and the outcasts of society. Here are some of what He said about how we should treat the poor.
Luke 14:12-14 (New International Version)
12Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
James 2:5-6 (New International Version)
5Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court?
It’s All About Love
“In this union and communion with Him, love is brought to completion and attains perfection with us.” (1 John 4:17 Amp)
Paul paints a picture of love-filled life in 1 Corinthians 13. It is the picture of Jesus Christ’s inner character. He is the original but He desires many reprints.
“This love of which I speak is slow to lose patience.” (1 Corinthians 13:4 Phillips). In the rush of life today, we see little patience exhibited. We are impatient if an appointment is delayed, impatient to be waited on in a shop, impatient with our families. Genuine love, however, is slow to lose patience. Even though treated unjustly, it doesn’t strike back. It refuses to be resentful even though it may have reason. Peter writes of Jesus, our example, “Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again.” (1 Peter 2:23)
“Love is kind.” (v. 4 NIV). The Philips paraphrase reads, “It looks for a way to be constructive.” This is not just being kind to those who are kind to us. It is being kind to those who are unkind. This love is quick to return good for evil – being kind to someone who has wronged us. It does not retaliate. Love not only takes the wrong but shows kindness to the person responsible.
“Love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy” (v 4 amp). Love does not begrudge another what they have or what they are doing. It rejoices in their success and advance. It is not possessive. Love is content with God’s will.
Love is “neither anxious to impress nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own importance” (v4 Phillips). It does not parade or display self. It doesn’t boast or brag. If self is prominent, love is lacking. Love is not arrogant or proud, but humble. Love cannot coexist with a superiority complex.
Love “does not pursue selfish advantage” (v 5 Phillips). Such love is self-forgetful. It is not rude but courteous. It lives to serve others.
Love “does not demand its own way” (v 5 LB) or seek its own rights. Love has good manners. It is always thinking of what is best for others.
And love is more important than knowledge. “While knowledge may make a man look big, it is only love that can make him grow to his full stature” (1 Corinthians 8:1 Phillips).
“We know how dearly God loves us, and we feel this warm love everywhere within us because God has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love” (Romans 5:5 LB)
The Lord wants to reproduce His love in your life and mine. Let us consider more characteristics of that love.
Love “is not touchy” (1 Cor 13:5 Phillips). Love “is not irritable, bad-tempered, resentful, or sensitive”. A woman apologized to a friend for something at which her friend could have taken offense. The friend just laughed it off. “I am honest”, she said. “I never pick up things that don’t belong to me – not even slights.”
Love “does not keep account of evil or gloat over the wickedness of other people” (v 5 Phillips). Love does not keep a record of wrongs done against him but will keep a record of kindnesses. It is never glad when others fail.
“On the contrary, it is glad with all good men when truth prevails” (v5 Phillips). Love will look for and be delighted with what it sees of good in others. It does not expose weaknesses of other people.
Love “knows no limit to its endurance” (v 7 Phillips). Love endures patiently. It bears its load to the limit. It bears slights and wrongs – even from friends and relatives – without retaliation.
Love knows “no ends to its trust” (v 7 Phillips). Love is not suspicious but believes the best in people as long as it can. It always looks for good.
Love knows “no fading of its hope” (v 7 Phillips). Love never despairs of anyone. The Lord Jesus never gives up on anyone.
Love “can outlast anything” (v 7 Phillips). When all else is gone, love endures to the very end. Love is permanent, for God is love.
Does this type of love seem impossible? Can anyone live that way all the time? There was one of whom this love-filled life was completely true: Jesus himself.
Perhaps you are saying, “if only this were true of me. But I am impatient. I say things I am later sorry for. Can I love as Paul described? Can it be real in my life?”
We cannot do it in our own strength. It is not the result of our own effort. We can only love in this way by submitting to the work of the Spirit of God in us. “The fruit of the Spirit is love” (Galatians 5:22). (Millie Stamm)
May love without hypocrisy be our foremost goal in life!!