Tag Archives: love others

Storing Treasures In Heaven

I remember doing a paper in college on the brokenness of the United States’ Social Security system. All the research I had done showed that the system was upside down and would not be able to sustain the retiring Boomers. It was recommended that Xers and younger should invest in their retirement through 401k’s and other means. Because of all that, we each have a mindset of doing what we can now to make sure we have enough in our former years. Even this week, I spent a few hours researching stocks, their performance, their diversification and ability to grow over time. I think it’s good to have a plan for the retirement years, but I’m left to wonder how much time, effort and energy do I spend planning for eternity.

When compared to eternity, a lifetime here is nothing more than a nanosecond. How much more should we be investing in the afterlife? In Matthew 6:20-21, Jesus said, “Instead, stockpile heavenly treasures for yourselves that cannot be stolen and will never rust, decay, or lose their value. For your heart will always pursue what you value as your treasure” (TPT). That last verse should have each of us looking at what we’re pursuing in this life. Where are your energies focused? Are they for things that matter now or for eternity? Again, I think it’s wise to plan for your financial future here, but it’s critical to plan for your eternity there. God’s economy is different than ours and how you invest in it is different too.

You and I must value the same things that God values if we’re going to store up treasures in Heaven. God has always valued and cared for people, especially the members of society we seem to ignore. He values giving justice to those who need it, but don’t have a voice to get it. He values mercy and grace, specifically to those who don’t deserve it. He also giving of our possessions more than hoarding them. Finally, later on in this chapter, Jesus reminds us that we must seek His Kingdom first before we seek our own. I believe when we put His priorities above our own, we store up treasures in Heaven. You can’t check your heavenly bank account through an app, but you can measure it through lives changed.

Photo by N. on Unsplash

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A Love That Values Others


A few years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting a man named Peter Strople. He was at the Re:Write conference as a speaker. Honestly, I had never heard of him even though he was known as the most connected man in America. When he got up to speak, you could see and sense his humility. It wasn’t what I was expecting from “the most connected man in America”. I quickly understood his humility and his ability to connect when he said his personal motto is “When in doubt, love.”

In a room full of writers who wanted to bless God with our talents, there was one person in the room who didn’t appear to belong. He had jet black hair done up like an 80’s band member. I think he even wore a leather vest that showed how his arms were covered in tattoos. Peter called him up to the stage to demonstrate what he meant. As he asked questions, diving into this man’s story, it was like watching a flower bloom. The one who was different, and an outcast, became the most beautiful thing in the room and everyone wanted to get to know him more.

Peter demonstrated what it mean to show love to someone. He didn’t just talk about it, he showed us how to do it. My whole life, I’ve read that we are to love one another, and have been taught about it as well from the pulpit. This was the first time I remember watching it in action and saw the result. Peter showed this man love by genuinely getting to know him and listened intently. It wasn’t about making himself look good. It was about valuing this person and showing them that they mattered.

Romans 13:10 says, “Love other people as well as you do yourself. You can’t go wrong when you love others. When you add up everything in the law code, the sum total is love” (MSG). Wherever you are today, there are people around you who need value added to them. Make a choice now to look for them and to show them love. Let’s not just talk about loving them, let’s do it. Don’t ignore someone because they’re different from you. Get to know they’re story and show them that they matter. 

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Debt Forgiveness 


“You scratch my back, I’ll scratch your back.” “You fly, I’ll buy.” “Quid pro quo.” “You buy this time, I’ll buy next time.” Ever used any of these expressions? Of course you have. We all do favors for favors. It’s an offer to help in exchange for help. You’ll give them what they want if they’ll give you what you want. Everybody wins. We all play the game, but what we forget is that Jesus changed the rules on it. He expects us to do for others who have no ability to pay us back. 

You see, there’s no reward in doing something for others who can pay you back. It’s not really a favor if you get a return favor. Part of our Christian DNA should be to do for others who can’t pay us back. It should be a part of who we are and be a regular thing we do. When Jesus was describing who got into Heaven, this is what He said in Matthew 25-35-36, “For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you brought Me together with yourselves and welcomed and entertained and lodged Me, I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me with help and ministering care, I was in prison and you came to see Me” (AMPC).

In all of these examples, it was about helping someone out who couldn’t return the favor. He went on to say that when you do something for the least among us, you’ve done it to Him. There’s no reward in helping those who can pay you back. Of course, you can still help your friends out in a quid pro quo fashion, but you can’t just do that and expect to be rewarded for doing good. You got your reward when they paid you back. The life Jesus is calling us to is doing things for those who can’t pay you back.

In Luke 14:13, Jesus said it another way. He said, “But when you give a banquet or a reception, invite the poor, the disabled, the lame, and the blind.” He mentioned several times in the Gospels that we were to give to those who couldn’t pay us back. When you think about it, Jesus did that for us. He set the example of giving at a high cost for those who couldn’t pay Him back. If you’ve accepted Him as your savior, then He paid your debt for sin in full. There’s no way to repay Him for that. The best thing we can do is to follow His example. Give to those who can’t repay you, and don’t hold it over their head.

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World Changing Prayer


In I Timothy 2:1, Paul says, “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf and give thanks for them” (NLT).When I read those words, I wonder if they challenged Timothy as much as they do me. Paul didn’t tell him to just pray for people he liked. He didn’t tell him to just pray for Christians. He told him to pray for all people and to ask God to help them.

To me, that’s hard to do. Selfishly, there are people that I don’t want God to help. I’m like Jonah a lot of times. I know God’s desire is to bring others to repentance, but I don’t always act in accordance with that. When God told Jonah to go to Nineveh, he disobeyed because he didn’t like them. We know that because later, when God spared the city, Jonah threw a hissy fit. He said, “I knew you were a merciful God. You are eager to turn back from destroying people.”

I wonder if Timothy was beginning to show the same signs. I wonder if he was being selective in who he shared the Gospel with. It’s not up to us to be selective with it or with our prayers. God doesn’t want anyone to perish. When we truly get that, we will start praying for others. We will intercede on their behalf. We won’t hold back from sharing the Gospel because we know that’s what God’s heart is.

God knows we let our human emotions get in the way of His will at times. We let how we feel about someone override how He feels for them. Paul knew the remedy for the situation is to pray for them and to give thanks for them. When we begin to pray blessings on people we don’t like and thank God for them, our vision of them changes. We stop seeing them as humans and start seeing them as souls. We quit looking at their value to us, and see the value God places on them.

I’ve always heard that prayer changes things. One of the biggest things it changes is us. That’s why Paul urges Timothy to pray. He knew as a young minister, he could fall into the trap of being selective with the Gospel. He knew that Timothy needed a greater vision. One that included all men, not just a few. It’s a vision that you and I need today. The way we get it is to begin praying for all and asking God to help them. If we truly want to see the world changed, we have to get on our knees and spend some time interceding. 

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Love All. Serve All. (Video)

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many.

Matthew 20:28 (NLT)

If you are having trouble viewing the video, click here.

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Love The Sinner.

One of the questions I’m often asked is, “How can I love the sinner and hate the sin?” I’m not sure where this saying originated or how it became the theme among so many Christians. When sin is a part of how a person defines themselves, how can you separate the two? I don’t think you can. The easiest and best thing you can do is to drop the “hate the sin” part and focus on loving the sinner. Before you get all crazy, I didn’t say we don’t call sin “sin”. I said we need to quit focusing on the hate of it so much when it’s attached to a person’s identity.

We have examples of Jesus and Paul who spent their lives ministering to the people who were unworthy of God’s love in the eyes of the religious leaders. People said to Jesus, “If you knew what manner of person she was, you wouldn’t let her touch you.” They also said, “If you were really a prophet, you would know how bad of a sinner that is that you’re talking to.” Jesus didn’t spend nearly as much time hating the sin as He did on loving the sinner. He got up close and personal with those who needed Him most. His response was, “It’s not the healthy who need a doctor. It’s the sick.” If the sick wouldn’t come to the hospital, He went to them.

In I Corinthians 9:19-22 Paul spoke of how he loved the sinner in order to bring them to salvation. He wrote, “Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. (MSG)” In his love for them, he entered their world. He didn’t force them to come to his. I think that’s key for us. Harvesters don’t sit in the farm house waiting for the harvest to bring itself to them. They have to go into the field if they want to reap. 

The most important thing he said was, “I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings on Christ.” If we are going to go into their world, it’s not to camp out and stay. Jesus always went back to the disciples and also to the mountains to pray. When you give yourself away, as love requires, you’ll need to get refilled from other believers and the Father. You’ll need to keep your bearings on Christ so that He remains your moral compass instead of political correctness. If we lose our way, how will they ever find theirs? We must remain grounded in prayer and God’s Word while we serve those involved in sins that are attached to their identities.

In my conversations with people involved in sins like this, they’re turned off by the “Love the sinner, hate the sin” moniker. They just want to be loved and accepted as a person instead of labeled and separated. The only way you can love someone is to get to know them. You can’t know someone if you’re constantly put off by their sin. You can’t know someone if you don’t spend time getting to know them as a human or a person. If you’re going to truly love the sinner, go to them, befriend them, live like Christ in front of them and don’t compromise the truth of God’s Word. When we do that, our churches will start growing and will become the hospital for the spiritually wounded.

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Love Is Action

How many times have you heard the phrase, “Actions speak louder than words”? I can’t remember the first time I heard it, but I’m sure it was my parents after I’d apologized for something I’d done multiple times. They knew that saying, “I’m sorry” was different than being sorry. There was no power in my words if there was no will in my spirit. Without being sorry, they were merely empty words. There was no guarantee that I wouldn’t do it again. My parents wanted to be able to trust my words, but until they could, they watched my actions.

When I was a sales manager, I had to forecast my projections each week to my boss. I would sit on a call as we went from store to store with each manager saying what their store would do. The longer the call went on, the higher the numbers went. Each store would give a bigger number so as not to be outdone. When it came to me, I would always break the trend and give a reasonable number. I took flack for it on the call each week, but I felt it was better to be able to back up my words.

Some people would rather look good now by what they say and sacrifice their reputation long term by their actions. That’s not God’s way. I John 3:18 says, “Our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love which shows itself in action. (GNB)” It’s easy to say we love others because that’s the right thing to say. It’s completely different to sacrifice what you want for what someone else wants. That’s what love does. It’s choice after choice and action after action that shows whether or not we truly love others.

So many times we are like the managers on those calls where we say the right thing or what we think others want to hear, but we rarely back it up. We use the right jargon and impress people with what we say, but God is looking for more than words. He’s looking at our heart. He’s watching what we do. It’s not just God who is doing that, others are too. They’re basing their idea of Christianity off of the way you and I live each day. They’re listening to our words and watching our actions and we already know which of those is louder.

One of my favorite quotes of all time came from St. Francis of Asisi. He said, “Preach at all times. Use words whenever necessary.” He understood that our lives preach what we believe more than our words ever will. What we do matters more than what we say. We don’t need to sacrifice our reputation or message for temporary acceptance. Live a lifestyle of love and let your actions do the talking for you. That’s the message of i John 3:18.

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