We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us - and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God's love abide in anyone who has the world's goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?
Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.... And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them.
(Church in Wales Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)
The first letter of John has some very wise words, and here in Chapter 3 we see that real love will always show itself in action, in other words in doing something. This letter was written in Greek, and there are four different words in Greek for the word Love, and they all have different meanings. We use the same word for the love of a parent for a child; or for sexual love; or for love between friends. The word used by John is agape (ἀγάπη). It describes a love that does not change but continually gives without asking for anything back, and does not stop even when others reject them. This kind of love can even continue for someone who is unlikeable and basically unlovable by others.
All too often when we use the word 'love' we expect something in return from the other person - possibly that they love us back, for instance. But John uses agape to describe how Jesus loved us and laid down his life for us. This love expects nothing back; this love is freely given; this love simply loves to give!
Today this is the true love that results in action. We are called to give, and give in whatever way we can, (not necessarily financially if we are poor ourselves), to help those who need our help.
Lord Jesus Christ,
who gave up Your life
to rescue us from a life of sin,
teach us to give and give again
to all who need help -
to give our time,
to give our money,
and to give ourselves.