1Jn 3:17-19 “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.”
Do we have that which supports our existence (hath this world’s good)? Do we know who (not what) it is that supports our existence? When we only see this world’s good as possessions, we do not truly understand this world’s good. In Mark, Chapter 3, we find the story of the widow who cast two small coins into the treasury. There we apparently a number of people there who had cast in much more than she had when measured in earthly value. However, Jesus said she had given more than all of them because she had given “all her living.” According to Strong’s “good” and “living” come from the same Greek root that implies that which supports our existence.
When we understand that it is God who supports our existence, we can give freely of what we have, even all our living. The love of God will move us to give freely, and we will understand that we are supporting family (our brother) in doing so. Men often focus on giving to the poor and homeless on the streets, and I am not saying that we should not do so. We should give heartily wherever and whenever the Spirit of God moves us. If the love of God dwells in us, then the Spirit of God will move us. We will see the need of our brother.
When we see the need of our brother we should look at him and not away from him. We should speak to him, not ignore him. If we truly do not have the means to give him a meal or a coat or shoes, we certainly have the means to pray with him that God would provide him these necessities and give him comfort and confidence to wait upon the Lord. We have, from the source of our existence, something to give to benefit those who are in need. Do we have brothers who may have much more in the way of this world’s benefits than we do who still have need?
Being lacking in this world’s goods is not the only way to be in need. We may encounter brothers who don’t need anything we could offer them in the way of earthly benefits. However, do we use this as an excuse to look past the sadness, the misery, the longing in them? Are they “hard” to talk to or are you afraid of how they might react? If the Spirit of God bids you to share with them this wonder that supports your existence, don’t close your bowels of compassion. It’s not up to you how they receive what you have to say. If the Spirit bids us say it, then we should never worry about how it was perceived or whether it meant anything to them. Our example is to give all our living.
We cannot just love in word. We can’t love our brother in word, we can’t love our family in word, and we can’t love God in word. I’m not advocating that we should not say it; it is a comfort to us to hear the words “I love you.” It is empty if it is in word only, no matter how sincerely we may say it. Love is something we do, not just something we say. When He who supports our existence blesses us to see our brother’s need we are to reach out to that brother’s need with whatever He has provided, and do it in love. Seeing our brother’s need and meeting it according to God’s provision in our life is an evidence of our trust in Him. We are made confident in our hearts that He is with us. We are assured that when it is our time to be the brother in need that He will send someone to us just as He sends us to others.
May being blessed to see a brother’s need encourage us that He has given us the means to supply that need to His praise and glory!