Loving in Deed as Well as in Word
BY SHOWING love in word we can often be very helpful. By words about God’s kingdom, we, as Christian ministers, can encourage and strengthen those who are toiling and loaded down, even as Jesus showed: “Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon you and become my disciples, for I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart, and you will find refreshment for your souls. For my yoke is kindly and my load is light.”—Matt. 11:28-30, NW.*
Comforting and strengthening as words may be, there are times when more, when deeds, are required. To illustrate: When a person is famished with thirst he needs nothing more urgently than a drink of fresh cool water. But if he were famished from hunger, water alone would not be of much help. So, when more is needed, merely to love in word, which costs us little more than does water, will not be of much help, if any. Yes, in such instances the word without the deed is as dead as faith without works is dead. How fitting, therefore, the counsel of the loving apostle John: “We are under obligation to surrender our souls for our brothers. But whoever has this world’s means for supporting life and beholds his brother having need and yet shuts the door of his tender compassions upon him, in what way does the love of God remain in him? Little children, let us love, neither in word nor with the tongue, but in deed and truth.”—1 John 3:16-18, NW.
Of course, loving in deed costs us something; it may be our time, our money, our strength, our nervous energy, as when others try our patience and self-control, and at times even our lives may need to be risked. Thus many reports come through from behind the iron curtain telling of brothers’ risking their freedom and lives in order to help others gain their freedom and life. That is loving in deed.
As members of a family circle, husband, wife, parent, child, brother and sister, each one has many opportunities to be loving in deed as well as in word, and a study of God’s Word will help us to see our privileges. And particularly as members of the New World society do we have opportunities to love our neighbor in the local Christian congregation.
Almost invariably meeting attendance suffers when the weather is bad, but should it? Not to the extent that it does. We are loving in deed when we come to the congregational meetings regardless of the weather and even though we may not feel as well as we should like. If we have an auto we can be loving in deed by bringing others to the meeting or by helping them to get out in the field ministry.
We are also loving in deed when we make contributions to the local and worldwide preaching work to the extent of our means; and when in a material way we assist our needy brothers, not overlooking full-time servants, who, while not actually needy, are so situated that material aid will enable them to serve more fully. Also by sharing in the training program we can be loving in deed, and even by such a trifle as sitting with someone at a meeting.
While the New World society justly has a reputation for showing love to one another, let us strive to do so still more, even as Paul prayed in regard to the Philippians, who had shown so much love in deed: “I continue praying, that your love may abound yet more and more.”—Phil. 1:9, NW.
For details see The Watchtower, September 15, 1954.