In Matthew 25:31-46, an oft-quoted Scripture here, we find a list of things commanded by Christ for us to do. It can be overwhelming to look at this list and try and determine how you can consistently do it all: feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, shelter the homeless, provide for the poor, care for the sick and visit those in prison. While I believe we must be open to doing any of these things at all times, I think it will be far more likely and ultimately more effective if you focus on those things in the list for which you are passionate.
I do not believe that we should forsake pursuing any of the actions in the list simply because we are not passionate about that particular area. For example, if you have a heart for those in prison and make a regular habit of visiting, you are not excused from walking by a homeless person on your way to the penitentiary. We must be always looking for opportunities to serve and live out our calling in Christ. However, I believe it is wise and consistent with Scripture to focus our time, energy and money on one or two areas of service listed in the passage above.
In Paul’s’ letters to the various churches in the New Testament, he often makes the point about how we are all different parts of the same body (Romans 12:4-5, I Corinthians 12:20). As different parts, we will all have different personalities and passions. Some may love caring for the sick while another is burdened to dig wells in drought-stricken regions of the world. Some may love providing and preparing food for those who are hungry, while yet another has a heart for the poor. When the body of believers is busy serving others in a way that fulfills their God-given passions, all the needs of those found in Matthew 26:31-46 will be served. Each of us must play our part in order to fully execute the mission of Christ.
Again, regardless of where are passions lie, when the opportunity presents itself, we remain obligated to serve Christ in other ways as well. We must not ignore the poor while feeding the hungry or steer clear of the sick while providing shelter for the homeless. When in doubt, err on the side of providing love, compassion and service to all. At the same time, give sacrificially of yourself in pursuit of your passions. If your heart breaks at the site of starving children, learn all you can about their situation, the causes and the solutions. Give all you can to help alleviate the suffering, and live your life in such a way that eliminating hungry becomes your passionate obsession. The same process applies regardless of your area of passion.
Learn, give and live; in this way we will do the work that God has uniquely given us to do. He has placed a longing inside each of us to serve the hungry, the thirsty, the poor, the homeless, the sick and those in prison. In which of these areas do you feel most passionate? Dive deep and devote yourself to service there. Being careful not to neglect anyone in need, allow God to use the gifts with which He has uniquely gifted you to serve in those areas in which He has given you a passion. As we work together for the glory of God, all will be served in His name and to His glory.