postheadericon Be The Tree

�And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard.
You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus:
'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'�
- Acts 20:35

We live in a world that says, "Look out for number one," and, "Get all you can; they owe you anyway." But that is so vastly different than they way that God calls us to live. In this verse, Jesus flat out says that it is more blessed to give than to receive. But how many of us actually believe that? I'd venture to guess that it's not many. Even when we've seen the evidence of what giving can do in our life time and time again.

Have you ever read the book "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein? My mom has been known to cry just retelling the story to people. But as I've gotten older, I can totally see why. In the story, this tree gives and gives and gives to a little boy. She gives until the point that all that's left of her is a stump. And the boy just takes and takes and takes, and keeps asking for more because he is never satisfied. The tree is happy when the boy is happy, even when she's given up so much of herself.

I think we can draw quite a few correlations from this book. We can look at the tree as God, and we are the little boy. We think we know what we want, we ask for it and get it, but then we get tired of it and want more. And you know what? God keeps on giving, because that's how much He loves us.

We can also decide that we are going to be the tree. We can decide that we don't care that society tells us to look out for ourselves. We can give until we have nothing left because we are sharing the love of Christ. How different might this world be if we all just did that a fraction of the amount that the tree did? And not just to our friends, or the people we love. But to everyone.

Giving doesn't have to be about our money. It can be about our time, our words, our simple actions that could make someone's day. So why not try it. Just for today. Look for the ways you can give, instead of finding the ways to receive. I'm willing to bet that God will bless you for it.

postheadericon Known By Love

"Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples."
- John 13:35

We are called to share the love of Christ with the world. Here, Jesus is telling us that that is exactly how we'll be known. It isn't about listening to Christian music, or wearing a cross necklace, or sporting a t-shirt with a Bible verse on it. That's all well and good, but that is not what should set us apart as Christians.

You don't �have to look very far to see all of the people in this world who are in desperate need of God's love. Look at the people you work with, or the people walking down the hall at school, even people in your church. I would be willing to bet that a lot of people you know are "love-deprived." Let's face it. There is only one love that will fill us up, and that is the love of God.

So share that love. Let that be what sets you apart as a Christian. And see what happens when you do. I think it could be pretty cool. After all, it's just like the song says:

"They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love.
They will know we are Christians by our love."

postheadericon Stop Copying Me

Remember that game you'd play when you were little. The one where you repeat everything that someone says. I'm sure you annoyed your siblings with it, or maybe they frustrated you. Well I was thinking about that game and here's an instance where it's exactly what we are supposed to be doing.

"Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.
Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ.
He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us,
a pleasing aroma to God.�
- Ephesians 5:1-2

Other versions of this verse tell us to follow God just as children follow their parents. We learn a lot from our parents, you know. We often learn our manners, our political views, and our faith from our parents first. We imitate them. Because we love them, we live like they do. So it makes sense then, that we should imitate God in that same way. If we read the Bible, and learn the ways that Christ lived as he walked this earth, we should be able to start living our lives in a way that imitates His.

Above all things, He lived a life of love. Is that so hard? It seems simple enough, but we all know that practicing that on a daily basis can be a challenge. I don't think we have to wake up every day and expect to be perfect. I mean hello, that's not going to happen. But we can wake up each morning and decide to make a conscious effort to love.

Love the people who are easy to love. Our families (sometimes) and our friends. Love the people who are harder to love. You know the kind. The ones who maybe test your patience a little more than others. And love the people who you don't even know. Love with the love of Christ. Be a copy cat.