Love in Action - Romans 12:13

We’re more than halfway through our 8-week “Love in Action” study of Romans 12:9-16.

This week, our focus turns to verse 13, where the apostle Paul presents us with two distinct challenges. The initial challenge is a call to "share with the Lord’s people who are in need." It's crucial that we grasp the full breadth of this directive—it's not merely an encouragement to share broadly or exclusively with fellow believers, but specifically to extend our generosity to those among us who face real hardship.

I'm convinced that this instruction isn't designed to limit our giving only to those we might categorize as “the Lord’s people” — after all, determining who falls under that label isn't for us to judge. Nor does it suggest we should overlook the needs of those who might appear to have their lives well put together. Instead, I see it as a pointed reminder to prioritize aid to individuals facing true adversity.

This means reaching beyond the confines of our comfort zones, to assist not only those who mirror our own image or lifestyle but embracing the diversity of need around us.

Helping those in need is usually messier (and sometimes less enjoyable) than helping those with plenty. It calls us to confront our biases and preconceptions, pushing us to recognize the humanity in all, regardless of their circumstances. Furthermore, this approach fosters a culture of empathy and understanding, encouraging us to look deeper into the lives of those around us and appreciate the unique struggles they face.

The second imperative Paul introduces is the practice of hospitality. Defined broadly, hospitality entails the warm and generous treatment of guests, visitors, or even strangers. It's an invitation to open our hearts and homes, creating spaces of welcome and generosity that extend beyond our immediate circles. Through such acts of kindness, we embody a spirit of inclusivity and grace that mirrors the teachings and essence of this passage.

Like many of the practical principles in this chapter, we can see these commands modeled in Jesus’ life and ministry. He was bombarded by those in need, and he met their needs, time and time again--the lame, the demon-possessed, the sick, even the dead. And, despite helping those in need, he also took the time to answer the questions of a rich young ruler (Luke 18), patiently instruct a Pharisee member of the Jewish ruling council, and offer living water to a woman sitting at a well (John 7).

Although Christ famously didn’t have a home of his own in which to welcome guests, he still extended hospitality to all those he met, putting them at ease by making them feel cared for and centering his attention on individuals’ needs, even in the midst of great crowds (such as the Woman with the bleeding issue in Luke 8, or the Feeding of the 5000 in Luke 9).

When we meet the needs of others and practice hospitality, we reflect Christ’s love in our actions!


PS - Want to keep this verse with you all week long? Just take a screenshot of the image (or download it) to use as your lock screen!


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