– Mother Teresa
Giving in Love
Jesus put it simply beautifully when He said “give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38), showing that when you give, you are actually receiving more than you gave in the first place. This is exactly what Solomon meant when he wrote “whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed” (Prov. 19:17). We don’t give to the poor to be repaid because this is not really giving; it’s a loan. We give to the poor because it’s the right thing to do. Your blessings might not come in the form of money, but blessings can come in a hundred different non-monetary ways, not to say that it cannot also benefit you financially.
Speaking in Love
Whatever you say to someone has one of two effects: It either tears down or builds up. Paul was all about building up the body of Christ, the church. It’s such a small thing to say “thank you” or “you’re doing a great job” to someone, but what a great impact that might leave. Little things can mean a lot to someone who has little or hears little good in their life. We should always be “speaking the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15), even if the truth hurts. There is a lot of wisdom in knowing “faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy” (Prov. 27:6). Even I must sometimes be wounded in order to heal. My mentor tells me the truth, which shows me he loves me. Truth-telling is an expression of love. The truth sets people free, or it makes them really mad.
Serving in Love
Paul said the motivation of what we do and say must be done in love, and so it is “through love [we] serve one another” (Gal. 5:13). Consider the humility of the great Apostle Paul, who humbly wrote, “I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them” (1 Cor. 9:19). How does Jesus define love? He says, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). It is so rare to find someone dying for a good person (Rom. 5:7) but for an enemy and wicked person (Rom 5:8, 10). Saying you love someone is one thing, but doing something that shows it makes it real.
Living in Love
Did Jesus believe that people might be drawn to Him by our good works? Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). This includes the imperative to “keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation” (1 Pet. 2:12). Love is a verb; it is what you do more than what you say. If your words don’t match your actions, then it’s just a lot of useless noise to God (1 Cor. 13:1).
Mother Teresa is exactly right in saying “not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love,” and that includes giving in love, speaking in love, serving in love, and doing works as a result of our love, thankfulness, and devotion to the Creator of love: God!