As we embark on this new year , what plans have you put in place to live a life that more clearly resembles Jesus, a life that is devoted to service to others? If you desire to follow Jesus more authentically this year but aren’t quite sure what that looks like, may I suggest that you start with reading Matthew 25:31-40. Here Jesus lays out in plain language what it looks like to serve Him. If we do the things he tells us to do out of love for Him, our lives cannot help but be transformed more and more into His image.
We are commanded to feed the hungry (Matthew 25:35). Almost every area of our country has a food bank that is utilized to provide food to those who cannot afford it, and giving a gift there can help feed a family. Serving meals at a shelter will bring you face to face with hurting people who are in desperate need of not only food, but also love. Sharing a warm bowl of soup with an even warmer smile can do wonders for someone in need. I know people who make up sandwiches at home and take them downtown to distribute among the homeless. These are just a few of the ways you can feed the hungry right in your city. There are many ministries around the world that provide food for children and adults who are on the verge of starvation. Consider volunteering to work with one of these ministries or supporting them financially. In all these ways we can give the hungry something to eat.
Clean water is something you and I probably take for granted. We think nothing of going to the sink and pouring a glass of water or firing up a hot shower in the morning. Yet nearly one billion people in the world today (that’s 1 out of every 8 people) live without access to clean drinking water. This leads to all sorts of illnesses and fatal, yet totally preventable, diseases. We have the technology and the resources to make sure that every man, woman, and child can have clean water whenever they need it. This planet teems with life-giving water, and it is inexcusable that many have no means of obtaining it. Locally, you can take bottled water to the homeless or help pay the water bill of someone who is poor. Globally you can again volunteer or give to a number of organizations that are working to bring clean drinking water to the nations. Don’t turn away from such a desperate situation that has such an achievable solution. Make it a priority this year to give water to the thirsty.
You don’t have to look far to see the problem of homelessness. In the downtown areas of most cities you will find a community of people that have no place to call their own. More and more we are seeing people standing on the street corners of even the affluent parts of town in search of a helping hand. Broken homes result in children living on the street, tired of the drama in their homes. Single mothers find themselves without the ability to both provide childcare and hold a steady job, and soon find themselves without a place to stay. If the Church will not take in these hurting individuals, then who will? As our homes and places of worship expand, it seems we have less and less room to accommodate and care for the needs of a stranger. I think this is one of the greatest tragedies of our generation. We love to build buildings but have no room to share. Jesus said that if we love Him, we will take in those who are homeless.
In the next post we’ll wrap up our quick journey through Matthew 25:31-40, and look at some additional ways we can begin modeling our lives to look like Jesus. We have been blessed with many resources, and it is our duty as trusted stewards to give of ourselves to that which Christ has called us, or to give so as to enable others to carry out the mission. Ideally we will give of both our time and money. If you are looking for ministries that faithfully carry out the commands we’ve talked about today, check out World Vision, Persecution Project and your local homeless shelters. Give of your time, give of your money, give of yourself. For the love of God, give!