“Teacher, which commandment is the greatest in the Law?” Jesus declared,” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.’ “Matthew 22:36-38 BSB
As Believers, we are to think, act, and live differently from those who do not believe in God. The pursuit of financial gain is the goal of those seeking to satisfy their desires. Unfortunately, many who profess to serve God have boarded the “Prosperity Ship” because of greed. Our overabundance is not to be used to purchase the latest fashion or trends. One of the most discouraging things I have ever witnessed was an individual who was a Pastor’s wife and had converted one of their bedrooms into a closet.
At Caesarea, there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. 2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. 3 One day at about three in the afternoon, he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!” 4 Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked. The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.” Acts 10:1-4 NIV
Loving God means that we strive to stay in alignment with His plans for our lives. We have primary responsibilities to help those in need. God has given everyone spiritual gifts and talents. Consider the elderly, living alone because spouses preceded them in death, and their children live in other states. Certainly, they could use a prepared meal or help with cleaning their homes. Local Churches involved in community service require monetary donations beyond the tithe and offerings from their members.
Currently, with the pandemic, many children are engaged in virtual learning. Two of the most challenging courses are math and science. If you are gifted in these subjects, you could offer virtual tutoring to assist the learning process and alleviate the burden of parents who cannot help their children learn the new and updated versions of these subjects.
When we love God with all of our hearts, souls, and minds, we have a natural desire to reach out beyond ourselves.
“Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Luke 22:42
Until Jesus was born as a human, He never experienced suffering. In His Divine Nature, Jesus did not have prior personal experience of the mental, emotional, and spiritual anguish that accompanies harsh trials and tribulations. Contrary to popular belief, there is not biblical support of Jesus or the angels crying in heaven. Sorrows, trials, and tribulations are part of the earthly journey of humanity.
Nevertheless, in the short span of 33 years, Jesus’ desire was always to please, honor, and glorify God, His Father. the Bible is full of stories of our Savior always helping and healing many of physical illnesses. The life of Christ demonstrates that He broke the barriers of all the “isms” that prevent many of us from reaching out to those in need.
Jesus gave Himself for us and to us, paying a holy and precious price on the cross. After giving His all, is it too much for Him to ask us to do the same thing? No man or woman will ever amount to anything in God’s kingdom or ever experience any of His power until this lesson of prayer is learned–that our personal considerations, no matter how important or precious to us, are secondary. Dr. Francis… From the Devotional Streams in the Desert
Study the Life of Christ in the book of Matthew, and reflect on the great sacrifice that Jesus willingly made for us. We cannot say that we are followers without possessing knowledge of Jesus, His character, and the manner in which He lived.
We are in a holiday season where the focus is placed on spending money and gift-giving. Although we do not have Biblical support indicating the actual day of Christ’s birth, many accept the celebration of Christmas day as His entry on earth as a human. Make every day a celebration of Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection by committing to serving God and serving others.
Bible Reading Plan for December: Matthew chapters 1-28
God, we thank you for our spiritual gifts and talents. May we always put you first, and have a loving and giving spirit. Thank you for always providing our needs and blessing us with additional resources that we may help others. As we celebrate the season of giving, we thank you for giving your life that we may have redemption from our sins and receive the reward of eternal life. We pray in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.
Edited and updated on 12/14/2020, 9:05 am
© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the author’s written permission.