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"How To Spot A Christian"

"By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

John 13:35

Reading my book of the month yesterday the author wrote, "We don't need to go on "mission trips" any longer. Jesus' friends never called them this. They knew love already had a name. Just look for opportunity to love people in Jesus name." I couldn't have agreed more as I thought back over the years and how many times have we sent people on "mission trips" all over the world who upon arrival back home would share without realizing it that they just returned from a "Mission Trip" without saying a word to the people they came in contact along the way about the love of God we have in Christ Jesus. I'm pretty sure there had to be people on the bus ride to the airport who didn't know the love of God. Or how about the numerous people they came in contact while shopping for supplies for their trip. Think about all the waiters and waitresses and check stand people that need Jesus too. Oh, and don't forget the people who work in the airport. There are literally hundreds of opportunities to reach out and touch somebody there, to love them in Jesus name.

The book went on to say, "Instead of saying you're a missionary, why not just go somewhere to learn about your faith from the people you find there and be as helpful as you can be? The neat part is most of the people I know who go on "mission trips" are already doing exactly that. We don't need to call everything we do "ministry" anymore either. Just call it Tuesday. That's what people who are becoming love do." So simple when you think about it. Ministry may best be defined then as, "Loving people in Jesus name today. Any place a Christian goes. Everyone we meet."

We don't have to wait to go on "Mission Trips" any more! Every day is our opportunity to love people in Jesus name. Jesus didn't say people will know you are a Christian by how many times you can share the "4 spiritual laws" with someone. Jesus said, "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:35). The best way to share Jesus with people then is by loving them. That's how Jesus got peoples attention. If we go anywhere today we are most likely going to come in contact with people which means we are going to have an opportunity to love them if we so choose.

Let me ask you the same question the Lord asked me. What would your day be like if you knew that you had an opportunity to run into Jesus today during your travels? Would you be excited? As I was studying Matthew's gospel it hit me. You and I do have a chance to come in contact with Jesus every day and not just from spending time in prayer and in God's Word. Jesus said in Mathew 25:35-40, "for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.' Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'" Did you notice Jesus didnt say, "you did it for Me" but rather, "you did it to Me". There is a huge difference. There is the "ah ha" moment!

Much of what I and other well intending believers have mistakenly done in our service for God is to misunderstand who we are serving. I use to think when I did something for another person it was me doing it for them, helping out the less fortunate in their time of need. Even my motive I discovered was impure as somewhere in the back of my mind I would think, "I don't really want to do this but I'll help them in hopes that if I ever am in need someone would help me out" not realizing that our serving others is merely an investment in ourselves, something like a savings account. I never realized that when I gave someone food I was in reality giving it to Jesus. I never made the connection that when I bought someone a soda or water who was thirsty that it was any big deal until I realized that every time I did so, it was as if I had bought the drink for Jesus Himself.

Now getting the chance to serve others and to love them in Jesus name has taken on a whole new meaning. Everything is a big deal now! No longer do I see my self in any place of superiority doing something for the less fortunate. Now that my eyes are opened to see that every person I have the privilege of loving in Jesus name by providing them water or food, clothing or shelter is actually an encounter with God Himself, serving has never been the same. The biggest change for me is motive. God has changed my heart. I am no longer burdened but honored for the chance to serve Jesus. I'm not proud but privileged that God would even allow someone like me to serve Him.

Just think, loved one, today you and I have a chance to serve Jesus by loving on thirsty and hungry, naked and sick and imprisoned people knowing that when we do we are doing it to Jesus. And here is some more good news, we don't even have to go half way around the world to do so! We can start right where we are and just love on the people around us and every place we go, anywhere the Lord leads us today!

"Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."

1 John 4:11 


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