Topic: A Multiplied Love [January 4, 2017]
Read: 1 John 4:20–5:5, Bible in a Year: Genesis 10–12; Matthew 4
Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. 1 John 4:21
When a woman in Karen’s church was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), things looked bad. This cruel disease affects nerves and muscles, eventually leading to paralysis. The family’s insurance wouldn’t cover home care, and the stricken woman’s husband couldn’t bear the thought of putting her in a nursing home.
As a nurse, Karen had the expertise to help and began going to the woman’s home to care for her. But she soon realized she couldn’t take care of her own family while meeting the needs of her friend, so she started teaching others in the church to help. As the disease ran its course over the next seven years, Karen trained thirty-one additional volunteers who surrounded that family with love, prayer, and practical assistance.
“Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister,” said John the disciple (1 John 4:21). Karen gives us a shining example of that kind of love. She had the skills, compassion, and vision to rally a church family around a hurting friend. Her love for one person in need became a multiplied love lived out by many.
Prayer: How might God use your talents and abilities to serve others in need? Ask God to show you how He wants you to use your gifts for His kingdom.
Love your neighbor as yourself. —Jesus
In the gospel of John, Jesus told His disciples that love would be the identifying mark of His followers: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (13:35). He also told them: “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love” (15:10). The connection between these two verses is as simple as it is wonderful: Loving Jesus means keeping His commands, and His command is to love. In fact, John says we cannot do one if we do not do the other. They cannot be separated—we cannot love God in one way and fellow believers in another way. Rather, “Whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen” (1 John 4:20).
This message was written by Tim Gustafson [Our Daily Bread Ministries.]