“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).
Jesus was an ambassador of the Father’s love. The most quoted verse in the Bible is about God’s love: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). This tells us that God loved the world so much that he acted (he did something), and that something involved a great sacrifice. God’s love resulted in action and sacrifice.
The teaching and example of Jesus and the bright thread of compassion for others that runs through all of Scripture underscores God’s desire that followers of Jesus will be recognized by their tangible expression of love for all people:
“If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:17–18).
“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2:14–17)
In other words, love always requires tangible expression. It needs hands and feet. As followers of Christ we can too easily become overwhelmed by the complexity and depth of our Christian faith, and we can become confused by doctrine and theology. The beautiful simplicity of our faith is that it distills down to the exact same bottom line for both the brilliant theologian and the five-year-old child: love God and love each other—period. Everything else derives from that.
Why is it so important that love be our motivation for service? Why is it necessary that love result in service?
Father, please forgive me for the times I have failed to love or to follow through on my attempts at love. Please help me to feel your love and consistently act on it.