Three years ago, I wrote a post called “Love one another… if you have nothing better to do.” I wrote the post in response to meeting several brothers and sisters who were in need. But, the church they met with regularly had done nothing to help them. There are many reasons for this, but none of the reasons are good reasons nor are they valid excuses. It’s time for us to ignore (die to) our own wants and (even) needs and instead live for Christ by serving and giving to those around us.
My heart is heavy tonight. During the last few weeks, we have met several brothers and sisters in Christ who are struggling. Some are struggling financially. Some are struggling with health or emotional problems. Some are struggling with loneliness.
These brothers and sisters in Christ are not “members” of our church, but they are “members” of other local churches. But, from what we have been told, the churches do very little – if anything – to take care of these “members”. They continue to struggle and continue to hurt and continue to be lonely with very little help from their churches.
Now, I’m excited that some of the brothers and sisters who are part of our church are coming along side these hurting people and offering them help. They’ve offered financial assistance, medical assistance, counseling and discipling assistance, shopping assistance, and companionship – and they’ve offered all of this without asking these people to “join” our church.
Here’s what I can’t understand… what happened to love? What happened to Jesus’ statement, “They will know you are my disciples if you have love for one another”? These churches continue to preach this… why don’t they live it?
What happened to John’s statement, “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” These churches continue to sing about this… why don’t they live it?
I wish I could say that these were isolated cases, but they are not. I’ve seen this over and over again. Last night, my wife was almost in tears concerning someone who served tireless in their church, but the church has done very little (if anything) to help in their time of need – and, yes, everyone knows about this need.
Honestly, this does not make any sense to me. In the very early days of my blog, I quoted Brethren, Hang Together by Robert C. Girard:
The structure that now ties us together is the structure of personal relationship – to each other, to the group, and to God. If we fail at love, there will be nothing left. But, then, is there really anything of value left in the church, when love isn’t there (1 Cor. 13:1-3)? 
We need to think very seriously about what Girard said. In many ways, our churches are failing at love – even love for one another, not to mention love for those who are different from us. If we are failing at love, then Paul would say that we are noisy gongs, clanging cymbals… nothing.
Look around you. Do you see a brother or sister who is hurting or in need. Love them. Now. Sacrificially. Humbly. Completely. Liberally. Repeatedly. Consistently. Now.
Don’t feel like loving them? Then there’s nothing left.