>This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 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 3:16-19

The nature of Christmas and God’s mission on this earth is summed up in one word: giving. God gave His Son (John 3:16). Jesus gave His life (1 John 3:16). God’s instruction to His followers is to follow His example: “And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters” (1 John 3:16). But, what does that mean? The answer is very clear.

If we have something that someone else needs, then this passage instructs us to have pity on them. Why? Didn’t they get themselves into their own mess? Why should I bail them out? We should have pity on others because God has pity on us. We talk about grace and mercy, but the root of these is really pity.

Most of us are too proud to be pitied. We’re not pathetic. We’re not unable. We’re still in the realm of “might could” not “used to could.” God sees us as “never could.” We never could live up to His standards. We never could save ourselves, so God had pity on us and He gave. Jesus gave His life, now He calls us to give to those in need.

Giving is easy when we know the people in need. We know the story about the hardship in their lives. We know how long they’ve been out of work. We know about the catastrophe that took place. We know about the single mom who has struggled because she hasn’t seen a check for child support.

Who do you know right now that you could do something for? Maybe you need to purchase a bag of staples for their pantry or donate a box of Angel Food for someone in need.

Then, there are those that we don’t know. The man on the street, shabbily dressed and in need of a shower, who asks for spare change. What do we do about him? Don’t you think that he would rather have a home and a job? Does he really prefer living on the street and surviving the cold? Maybe you give him cash. Maybe you give him a gift certificate. Maybe you donate to Triune Mercy Center or Miracle Hill in Greenville.

You don’t need to find a program or start a ministry. Just ask God how He wants you to help, and then keep your eyes open to the needs in front of you.

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