We love because he first loved us. – 1 John 4:19
Soooo, as I’m sure you can gather – I do a lot of writing… but this isn’t what makes my heart beat or light on fire. Nor is it what I want to do with the life God has given me. See, I can share with my words all day long but unless I’m actively living out my faith, those words mean very little. Lately, I more often notice that I share in words rather than in action – it’s the easy, “safe” route. But the Lord calls us to be active in our sharing of His love.
As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
– James 2:26
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. – 1 John 3:16-18
I sometimes think that I should be out on the international mission field… like ‘man, THAT would be serving Jesus and loving people! Why can’t I be there, Lord?!’ Yet, what am I doing NOW, in the season and place that God has me? Am I using the time and resources He’s currently given me to glorify Him and show His love actively and in truth? Maybe I’ll have the opportunity to be an international missionary one day and share the love of God with my hands and feet… but maybe there are still lessons to be learned and God wants me to be a good steward of what I have and still serve Him and love people right in the setting I’m currently in, with the resources/tools I currently have. A missionary here and now…
I have been given so much in my life. I may not be a millionaire, I may have to struggle to make ends meet… but I have Jesus, my First Love, and that makes me rich! The Lord has given me far greater love than I could ever buy… He already paid the price, and I just had to accept His gift of salvation. Not only that, but He has given me a family, the ability to physically move, access to food, access to clean water, access to shelter, access to healthcare, etc. I’m in the top 5% of the world in resources since I actually own a car – no matter how old, beat up, and rusty it is! I am rich indeed!
So these are things that I don’t want to take for granted… and these are things that others should have. Family, health, food, water, shelter – but most of all, Jesus.
I don’t have a non-profit or organization formed for this, I don’t necessarily have a tangible team in place for these projects either. It’s just me and Jesus and the people who feel led to support these endeavors. I receive nothing out of it except the blessing and joy of participating. And that’s not “nothing” – it’s quite a bit actually!
What I have are these online resources/tools and organizations that are already in place that share the love of God that I can do fundraising for. The money goes to them to utilize for their ministry and organization to reach the people who need it. They are showing love in action in Jesus’ name, so I wanted to be a small part of that as well. These Love in Action Projects will vary depending upon what the Lord guides me into. For right now they encompass fundraising along with some sort of fitness or challenging goal.
In 2012, some amazing people supported me and what the Lord was doing in my first fundraising project for Team World Vision. I ran my first half marathon that June with the blessed reality that the financial goal I had set was reached. It was all by the grace of God and His hand was at work the entire time. Those funds went to provide communities in Africa with clean water. I was humbled and overjoyed by what the Lord did in my heart through that process and how miraculously He moved. I even placed 3rd in my age group (I was totally surprised)! Not bad for my first half marathon! He receives all glory!
I really struggled in 2013… I bit off more than I was able to chew as far as any of these projects went, not including the struggles that I faced all throughout the year. I attempted 2 projects in the spring and summer and then tried again on one of the projects in the fall, but I did not have the focus and energy to devote to them so they flopped. I learned a lot during that process and was broken, so God was still glorified.
2014-2017 were also difficult to focus on philanthropic fitness projects. I was finishing up school and was met with bigger personal challenges than I’ve ever had to face, so my focus was much more internal than external after that.
I haven’t given up on living Love in Action though, the Lord has just taken me aside for a while (just He and I) to teach me rest, to teach me how to cease striving to serve and learn to abide and pay attention to His heart first. I’ve learned more about brokenness, forgiveness, humility, and how difficult, painful and long healing can be/take. It’s quite a process.
I’ve been sponsoring children through Mentor Leaders over the past couple of years and am looking into going on a trip to Togo with them in 2018. I also have a heart for what CURE International does and will be exploring more ways to support that ministry.