If anyone has this world’s goods and sees a fellow believer in need but withholds compassion from him – how does God’s love reside in him?
1 John 3:17
Conviction and Compassion
This can be a convicting verse for some of us. Those of us who have been blessed to never wonder where their next meal would come from. Those of us who maybe haven’t had to wonder about keeping the lights on in their homes. When we find ourselves in 1 John reading this passage, we may be convicted to ask ourselves if we have withheld compassion from a believer in need. Are we extending the love that resides?
Are we even spending enough time with others to know when they have a need?
Knowing The Need
We may be tempted to defend ourselves by saying that we can’t possibly help every person who needs it. But is that what John is telling us? John says that if we see a fellow believer in need, we offer them compassion. He does not say to look for every person who needs something.
When we pause our defensive heart, we recognize that we are not being told to go rain money on the poor. We are being commanded to see other believers and to know them well enough to know when they have a need.
In The Overflow
John then tells us that if God’s love resides in us, it will overflow with compassion for those in need. An overflow of compassion might be extended through helping with tangible, physical needs. In other situations, the compassion we offer may look very different from money or things. We may need to offer mercy to someone or spend an afternoon sitting and talking with a believer who is lonely or hurting. There may be times when we aren’t able to offer financial gifts. Still, we are called to show compassion to those in need by crying out to the Lord and interceding on their behalf.
We do not need to feel guilty about what we are not doing. Instead, we should feel called and empowered to pray. Ask that you would see the needs of those around you. Ask that the overflow of God’s love within you would willingly give those in need what they need. This is truly extending the love that resides within us out into the world.
Pray that God will open your eyes to the needs around you and help you see how you can meet the needs of others.