Impact Others in our Community
One important way we can impact others is by caring for the under-resourced in our community. In our area, there are people with insufficient food, clothing, and housing. There are those who are suffering from the loss of their marriage or the death of a loved one. People all around us are suffering from crippling anxiety and are trapped by addiction. In addition, there are many people in our area who are have found themselves isolated and alone. The sick, the unemployed and the prisoner need our help and compassion. There are so many needs, and so many opportunities to impact people for Christ.
As you read today’s passage, identify the different groups of people in need and how Jesus identifies himself with them. Notice the various ways in which they received assistance.
34 “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. 35 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, 36 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.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
What examples of people in need do you see in this passage?
Are there similar groups present in Collin County? What others you can think of?
Years ago one of my Bible study leaders posed a provocative question that I want you to think about: “At the moment we accept Christ and are saved, why doesn’t God take us straight to heaven?” God often leaves Christians here on earth for decades and decades after they place their faith in his Son — living in this broken and fallen world, continuing to sin and be sinned against. Once our eternal destiny is secure, why don’t we get to start eternity?
Because our salvation is not all about us. While our faith cannot be less than a personal, saving relationship with Christ, it is so much more. Of course God leaves his redeemed, Spirit-filled people on earth. We have work to do! Who else will spread not only his message, but live out the implications of it in ways that draw others to Jesus? While God can act through supernatural miracles anytime he likes, he most often chooses to work through people. As his heirs and ambassadors, we can help bring God’s justice, love, generosity, peace, compassion, and mercy to this earth right now.
As we saw in Day 1, it is love that should characterize our relationships with others. As we saw on Day 2, each of us makes up part of the body of Christ and are given Christ’s work to do here on earth. Today’s passage from Matthew 25 reminds us of at least some of what this work entails. Jesus identifies himself not with the powerful and privileged, but with those in need. When we serve those he loves and cares for, we serve him.
Notice that none of the acts of service that Jesus speaks of require unique skills. They are simple acts of help such as offering food and companionship. You don’t need a specialized training to do any of the tasks that Jesus highlights! You just need the willingness to share his love and compassion. To be present and offer what help you can.
Because God has a special place in his heart for those in need, they provide an opportunity for each of us to demonstrate our love for Jesus by serving them. The question then is this: will we have God’s heart of compassion toward those who need it? To acquire that heart may mean banishing our personal biases and crossing societal boundaries. Are we willing to do that, to associate with those society might look down on? Are we willing to leave our comfort-zones and enter into the uncomfortable messiness of those with physical, emotional, and spiritual needs? Are we willing to adopt the priorities of a poor, homeless Nazarene who laid down his life to save you and me?
Sometimes we can get so overwhelmed by the vast needs of people in our community that we don’t know where to start so we do nothing. The problems of homelessness, addiction, mental illness, joblessness, domestic violence, and more are huge. So don’t try and solve a problem — help a person. Meet a need in your neighborhood, workplace, or child’s school. Donate to or volunteer with a local organization that helps people in your area. Take a bag of toiletries to the women’s shelter or take a shift at the local food pantry. Start small and see where the Lord takes you!
- What work needs to be done in your heart in order to reach out to those in need?
- How can you get involved in impacting those in our community with the love of Jesus? Need a place to start? Check out https://cfhome.org/nextsteps/serve-others/community/
Take some time today in prayer before the Lord. Ask him to soften your heart toward the hurting and then bring to mind a person or group of people that you can help.