By Gary Kendall, Director Love KC
Lord, thank you for the life-changing power of your Word. Help me to obey your Word, so that my ways may please you and lead others to you.
[When the son of Man comes as King he will say:] “I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me a drink; I was a stranger and you received me in your homes, naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me, in prison and you visited me.’ The righteous will then answer him, ‘When, Lord, did we ever see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? When did we ever see you a stranger and welcome you in our homes, or naked and clothe you? When did we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘I tell you, whenever you did this for one of the least important of these followers of mine, you did it for me!’”
In Jesus’s day, a leader wasn’t expected to serve. When people had power, wealth, health, ease of life and mobility, the assumption was that they were blessed by God and worthy of their possessions. They were clearly in a category above the average person.
In a similar way, there was an assumption that the least, the last, the unlovely, the orphan, the widow, and the weak were deserving of their fate or being punished by God. Not only this, but if you took actions to help the needy, it appeared you were making yourself equal to, or less than, those you were serving.
These were the prevailing thoughts back then. I wonder, Do these sentiments prevail today?
Jesus, speaking of himself, warns that when the Son of Man returns as King only those who have served the hungry, the thirsty, the needy, the stranger (who was likely a foreigner), and those in prison will be rewarded. Jesus himself had upended the status quo by being a servant leader. He demonstrated this kind of love in action when he was here on earth and he calls us to follow his example. Jesus emphasized his point by saying, “Whenever you did this for one of the least important of these followers of mine, you did it for me!” That thought alone is a game changer.
Jesus calls us not to discriminate in the way we treat others. When we adopt our neighborhoods to pray, care, and share, let’s keep this in the forefront of our minds. Let’s not decide who is worthy, who is “like me,” who is easy to serve or who might be a bonus to add to our circle of friends. Instead, let’s see Jesus in those whom we serve. Everyone is a child of God, so important to Jesus that he died for him or her. Anyone can be a trophy of God’s grace. We are who we are only by God’s grace. We have no right to judge.
I love the dignity Jesus gives to every human being. He gives each of us worth. We serve others in recognition of that truth. Let’s set aside the temptation to take the easy path and simply serve those who look like us. Sometimes we might get quicker results serving those who are comfortable with us or those with whom we already have relationship. If this happens, let God use it for his glory, but this approach should not be our only strategy. Be open to anyone God puts in your path.
Ask God today to do three things for you: 1) make you sensitive to any need you see; 2) serve others with a humble heart, as if you were serving Jesus; 3) give you strategic actions to reach those in your circle of influence. Then obey with joy and leave the results in God’s hands.
Lord, thank you that all people are equal in your sight. Help me be present in the moment with those around me, always ready to serve. To you, Jesus, goes all the credit.