As Christians, we must demonstrate God’s love through our actions towards others. Steph Nickel reminds us that God wants us to reach out to those who are in need: the hungry, the thirsty, the lonely stranger, the naked, the sick, and the imprisoned.
Reaching Out To The Needy
Today let’s read excerpts from Matthew 25:31-36,
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory . . . Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another . . . he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’”
I have referred to this passage often. It is one of the most profound in all of scripture. These are the good works that show our faith is not dead.
We must reach out to those in need—and they are all around us: the hungry, the thirsty, the lonely stranger, the naked, the sick, the imprisoned.
How we respond when we come face to face with those in need is a surefire indicator of the depths of our faith, how we really feel about our Saviour. I know it’s tough to accept. After all, when we consider all that Jesus Christ accomplished on our behalf and the depths of His love for us, it seems only logical that we would love Him in return. But others . . . that’s an entirely different story.
Demonstrating God’s Love
And yet, 1 John 4:19-20 says,
“We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.’”
These two prayers go hand in hand:
“Dear Lord, may my love for You increase more each day.”
“Dear Lord, may my love for those in need increase more each day.”
Are we willing to give voice to that second prayer? We must. Plus, we must be willing to take action. Our well wishes will not meet another’s needs. The hungry and thirsty will remain that way unless there are given food and drink. The naked will remain unclothed unless someone gives them something to wear. The stranger, the sick, and the imprisoned will remain lonely unless someone takes the time to visit them.
Love Others, Love God
While, of course, we can’t meet everyone’s needs, each of us can do something. We must consider the needs all around us and teach our children to do the same. There are those in need across the globe and across the street.
When we reach out to others, we are not earning a place among God’s sheep, but we are revealing that we truly love the Lord Jesus Christ and appreciate what He has done for us. We are also acknowledging that we believe His words in Matthew 25:40:
“What you did to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”
As a family, let’s, first of all, pray that the Lord would increase our love for Him and for others. Let’s make a list of those we know who are in need. Each week let’s choose at least one person from the list and prayerfully consider how we can best reach out to them in love.
Whether at school, in the workplace, or in our neighbourhood, there will be those we can bless on our own, as a family, or as part of a larger organization.
Sound No Trumpet Before You
We must also keep in mind what it says in Matthew 6:2-4:
“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
If we seek to do our good works in this way, it will serve as a reminder to us why we’re doing what we are. If these works are truly expressions of our love for the Lord, it will be enough that He knows about them.
Compassion Leads to Action
The Bible contains many things that are difficult to understand, but this vital passage is not among them. And when we consider how we treat others is how we will be judged when we stand before the Lord—and we all will, we must not take these verses lightly.
If we do not have compassion for others, compassion that leads to action, it is not enough to simply force ourselves to occasionally give to charity or help out in a local soup kitchen. We must acknowledge our indifference before the Lord and ask Him to fill us to overflowing with love. He can and will answer this God-honouring prayer. And if we’re not yet willing to have Him work in us in this way, we can simply ask for the willingness. God truly is an awesome God and wants us to approach Him openly and honestly. After all, He knows all about us—even more than we know about ourselves.
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Feeding the Poor- mldepuy