“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40)
Lately I’ve been thinking: why must there even be “the least of these”? While I understand it in the practical sense (being socially, emotionally or monetarily limited), something in me has always cringed a bit about that verse. Not so much out of regret – but because it’s just sad that in teaching His followers to serve others, Jesus had to acknowledge that such distinctions, labels or classes existed.
For myself, I’ve never subscribed to the hierarchical mentality, if you will. No one deserves to be pigeonholed, categorized or judged by their current station in life. It’s not only a waste of time, but also far too easy to make the wrong assumptions, which only lead to misunderstanding and dissension. Instead I simply respond to words, actions, and attitude; treating everyone as the souls they are: cherished and loved by their Creator. I ask questions and listen. While I may not fully understand what someone is going through, or where they’re coming from, God does. My job is to trust that He will lead me and give me the words to speak, sharing the hope I have in Him with all who ask (1 Peter 3:15).
Here’s a prose poem I wrote a long time ago, thinking about the needy among us…
“The Least of These”
They wipe off the food with
Embarrassed to be seen with a
on their faces.
But I rub my coat sleeve
across my dirty face
Unable to find enough food to feed
my angry stomach.
I shuffle past the lively eateries
–The smell of a thousand herbs
fills my nostrils
If only someone would give me
my aching feet
Someone please care, give me
something to hope for
something to live for.
We are all beloved souls wrapped in flesh, looking for love, hope and acceptance. In serving, we aren’t merely providing resources and help. On deeper levels, we are sharing our relationship with Christ through relationships with others: His hope shining into the darkest despair, His love healing broken hearts, and His truth exposing the lies that the enemy uses to keep the “least of these” believing that they are the “least of these”, and not the precious sons and daughters they truly are.
We all know: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35), but I’m here to tell you that JOY (Jesus Others Yourself) itself indeed comes to vivid life when I serve! As I mentioned in my TRANSFORMED post, one of the ways I serve is by attending and helping facilitate the chapel time at Simonka House (women & children’s homeless shelter) once a month. There’s a song or two, a message, and a couple times I’ve shared my poems aloud. After our Spirit-filled time together, I feel positively giddy! As our group leaves, the guests and staff are always so appreciative, thanking us with frequent hugs that send us off with grins on our faces and thankful joy in our hearts.
The Bigger Picture
It truly is both humbling and invigorating to be used by God to bless others. Setting aside our own concerns to focus on the needs of others blesses us and helps keep life in perspective. In the bigger picture, serving also broadens and enriches our experience; building relationships that help pave the way for future ministry opportunities we can’t even imagine now. It’s a win-win-win!
Gifted To Serve
God has endowed each of us with a unique set of talents, skills, interests, and of course, material things, and He has a plan and purpose for them all. In fact every day should be lived to His glory as a form of worship, regarding ourselves as no better than anyone else (Romans 12:1,3). Some are called to distant countries, but most of us can love and serve wherever we are. God says in His Word that we should use what we’ve been given and network (Luke 16:9); leveraging it for the kingdom. It’s the best investment we can make. The best part is: we can’t out-give God. The more we give, the more His Spirit flows and we are transformed – and the world along with us.
Here’s a “classic” song by Audio Adrenaline…
may we all be His Hands And Feet wherever we go.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all of your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”
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