When we share our faith with our friends and acquaintances, our hope is that they will listen with open minds and accept the call of the gospel. If we could read the minds of our listeners, we might be surprised to discover they are thinking, ‘I don’t care how much you know until I know how much you care.’ We are often judged more by our caring than by our knowing.
There are some very smart people who know a tremendous amount of information, but what good is all that knowledge if they do not care? John tells us, “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” It is not our words but our deeds that show our love.
The Lord Jesus knew more about the ways of God than any man who ever lived, but we love him so much because he cared so much. One example of how Jesus showed his caring in action was when two of John’s disciples were sent by John to see Jesus and ask him, “Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?” Jesus did not answer the question with words. He answered the question with deeds. “That very hour he cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind he gave sight.” Then, “Jesus answered and said to them, Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them.” John’s question was answered by hearing how Jesus cared for the needs of others by healing them.
There are many Biblical examples of people who knew a lot but did not care about others. A classic example is Luke’s record of Jesus telling about a judge who obviously was knowledgeable enough to be a judge but unfortunately cared for no one but himself. Jesus tells us, “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming.’ ” The unjust judge was forced to care for the widow because of her persistence. It shouldn’t be necessary for someone in need to ask us over and over again for help.
Jesus tells us, “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.” James wrote, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” We must care for the needs of others. No matter how well we know our Bibles, when we tell others of our faith, they observe how we treat them and think, ‘I don’t care how much you know until I know how much you care.’
Here’s the way Peter described Jesus to Cornelius: “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.” Peter explained who Jesus was by pointing out not only the power he was given, but also what he did with that power. We are to follow in the steps of Jesus by showing how much we care for those around us. We show this by doing good and helping them. Jesus felt compassion for those in need, and he tells us to feel the same way.
The best picture Jesus gives us of the judgment seat shows how important it is for the faithful to care for others.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ ”
We show our love for Jesus by the caring things we do for others. It is all well and good to be able to speak eloquently and teach lessons based on our deep knowledge of the Scriptures, but we need to remember that there are other things that are important, too. We show that we are trying to follow Jesus by taking care of the needs of others.
I don’t care how much you know until I know how much you care.
Robert J. Lloyd