There’s No Hope for the World Without Love
What is love?
According to Merriam-Webster, love is a strong affection for another rising out of kinship or personal ties; attraction based on sexual desires; affection based on admiration, benevolence or common interests.
But there’s more to love than just this.
John Piper says, “Love in the Bible, as in our everyday usage, can be directed from person to person or from a person to things. But there is another aspect of interpersonal love that is very important in the Bible. There is the aspect of love for persons who are not attractive or virtuous or productive. In this case, love is not a delight in what a person is, but a deeply felt commitment to helping him be what he ought to be.
Ultimately, love requires action.
This action isn’t necessarily easy. Sometimes it’s downright hard.
In Luke 6:27-38 Jesus tells us to love our enemies and bless those who curse us. Living this out is not easy.
We’re all familiar with the abundance of internet scams out there. But I had no idea it is as bad as it is. In 2020 Americans lost 4.2 billion dollars…that’s BILLION with a B!
We’ve all received emails or social media messages where someone is in line to get an inheritance or court settlement, but first they need to pay some small fees up front. If we will help them pay these fees, they will split the large sum of money with us.
This was the case for Ben in Utah. He got just such a message from a man named Joel in Liberia and recognized it as a scam.
“He decided to play along just for fun. Ben has his own YouTube channel, and he thought it would be a good idea to record his interactions with Joel so he could teach his viewers how to spot Internet scams.
This is where the story gets good. Ben decided to turn the scam around. He claimed that he ran a photography business and would pay Joel to take some photos of African sunsets. To his surprise, Joel came through with some pretty decent photos. So, Ben did a very strange thing: he bought Joel Willie, the scammer from Liberia, a new camera. He sent him the camera and asked for more photos. And the pictures Joel sent were definitely better quality this time around. Joel also sent an enthusiastic message saying that he was committing himself to their new photography partnership.
Now Ben had a situation on his hands. He had told Joel he would pay him for good photos. And Joel trusted him. So, if Ben didn’t come through, he would be guilty of running a scam himself. What should he do? Ben decided to print Joel’s photos in a small booklet and advertise it for sale on his YouTube channel. He titled the booklet after a phrase Joel used in his emails: By D Grace of God. He only charged $8 per booklet. Within a short time, he had sold $1,000 worth of booklets.
And this is where the story gets even better. Ben sent all the money to Joel on one condition: that he donate half of it to a local Liberian charity. Joel gladly did exactly that.
And this is the best part of the story. In 2018, Ben traveled to Liberia to meet his new business partner, Joel. The two men took more photos and published a second book detailing the strange and wonderful story of their business partnership. Their two books have raised $90,000. Some of the money has gone to Joel for all his hard work. But the rest has gone to do good works in Liberia. It has been used to buy food for the hungry, to purchase Christmas care packages for children, and to save a local school.
Isn’t that a great ending or maybe we can think of it as a beginning? It’s a story with a happy ending for Ben, Joel, and all the people whose lives have been impacted by the charitable giving from their photo booklets. So, I think the title of their first book is so appropriate By D Grace of God, (link to book) this story didn’t have to turn out this way. It became a story of generosity, hope and new beginnings, by D Grace of God.”
We need more love and openness to generosity. It’s not easy, but no one ever said it was. This has never more needed than now. We are living in a world of division. This is what Satan wants. Hate divides…generosity unites.
Love is the engine that runs generosity, but love requires us starting that engine and pressing the accelerator!