Summary: Everything in the Christian life is based imitating Christ. As Christ-imitators, we need to remember that: Our acts of service imitate Jesus, Our acts of service demonstrate our love, Our acts of service validate our words.
Do the Little Things. 1 John 3:16-18
Everything in the Christian life is based imitating Christ
As Christ-imitators, we need to remember that:
1. Our acts of service imitate Jesus v.16
2. Our acts of service demonstrate our love v.17
Love demonstrated is love amplified.
3. Our acts of service validate our words v.18
You may have experienced a “Pay it forward” at a local Starbucks drive-thru. The world record appears to be in China where 19,000 customers paid it forward at a Starbucks store. “A customer ordered a cup of coffee to start his work day and was surprised when his Starbucks barista said the beverage was free. If he wanted, she said, instead of paying for his own drink he could purchase coffee for the person behind him in line. One after another, customers began buying coffee for others.”
It appears that the U.S. record for “Pay it forwards” at Starbucks may be 750 people in Florida who each paid for the drinks in line behind them. The streak was ended by blogger Peter Schorsch who intentionally ended the chain. Schorsch said,
“In case any of you are caught up in the Pay It Forward baloney at Starbucks. I just drove through the line, bought a venti mocha frap AND DID NOT PAY IT FORWARD. The chain is broken and this silliness should stop. (P.S. I tipped the baristas $100, just so you can't call me a grinch.),” Schorsch posted on his Facebook account. In a post on his website Schorsch wrote “Customers were being told that they had had their drink paid for and then asked would they like to pay for the drink of the person next in line. That's not generosity, that's guilt.” I’d say Mr. Schorsch is not right, he’s wrong. I’d also say Mr. Schorsch is stupid, not smart. I’d also say acts of kindness, even to random strangers, is a beautiful thing, not something to be denigrated.
Turn to 1 John 3:16-18. This morning we discuss the 4th of the 5 love languages. We’ve discussed Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, and this morning we are going to discuss Acts of Service; Acts of Kindness.
We’re using Gary Chapman’s book, “Five Love Languages (pic) as auxiliary reading on the subject. You can get a copy in our bookstore back by the coffee bar. It is an excellent tool to help us love better the people we love.
Each of us has a love tank, a desire and capacity to be loved and what goes in that love tank to make us FEEEL love may be different than others. If my dominant love language is words of affirmation and Sue tries to express her love by giving gifts, I don’t feel as loved as when she affirms me with her words. If your love language is physical touch and your spouse performs acts of service for you, you’re not going to feel as loved as if he/she just sat down next to you and put their arm around you or held your hand. The expressions of love, though well intended, gets lost in translation.
So let’s dig into the text and see what the Scripture says about demonstrating our love with acts of kindness. 1 John 3:16-18. (on screen)
The Apostle John, as he is entering the final season of his life, is intent on sending out 3 letters, 3 directives to the 1st century churches. This first directive, we call 1 John, had a number of themes, but it seems the most dominant is that of light. Of course, John’s gospel begins with the theme of light: John 1:4-5 “In Him was life,,g and that life was the light of men. 5 That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.”
So John’s letters were written so that we might know the Light and follow the Light. Most of us here this morning claim to know the Light, the Lord Jesus. But are we following the Light? Are we walking in the Light?
If we’re Christ-followers, we follow Him; we imitate Him. This may seem obvious, but it needs to be stated: Everything in the Christian life is based imitating Christ. And there is no doubt that imitating Jesus includes serving others.
Of course, the most important people in our lives are the ones we should be most intent on serving. Does your spouse, your family member have the love language of acts of service? As I said last week, these 5 languages are baseline for all relationships. But if your loved on feels most loved when you do acts of service, no matter how small they are, you will fill their love tank up faster and better than anything else you can do.