Week 5, Day 3
Welcoming and Serving Others like Jesus
By: Kyrsten Pratt
“For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me. Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Loving people isn’t always glamorous or easy, but in this passage, Jesus isn’t saying it’s optional. Loving people is messy and difficult, and often inconvenient. It will require sacrifice of time, money, energy, resources, but Jesus doesn’t ask us to love our neighbors when it’s easy. He’s saying that when we love, care for, and meet the needs of others, we are serving Jesus himself. I remember when we first moved to Seattle more than 10 years ago and joined a church community group in our neighborhood.
There were two women looking for a temporary place to stay: one was a thin, blonde, and pleasant ballet dancer waiting to get married; the other was overweight, had a few missing fingers on each hand, a very needy personality, and talked with a lisp. If you were really honest, who would you rather have living at your place? Who would you rather help out in their time of need?
We made the choice to have Woman #2 stay with us for a bit of time, and to say the least, it was inconvenient. It was hard. Really hard. But, it was what God was asking of us. It wasn’t glamorous, it was the exact opposite. But, it was what loving Jesus looked like in that moment.
Don’t get me wrong here, my natural response was to not take this woman into our small 1-bedroom apartment to stay for several days. There have been plenty of times that I have not heeded this warning and served others as if I were serving Jesus himself. But, Jesus is clear that he expects us to serve others as if we were serving Him. Even if it’s inconvenient or costly.
Do you have a Woman #2 in your life who Jesus is asking you to love? He’s not making it optional, he’s telling you, it’s an issue of eternal punishment vs. eternal life. Let that sink in for just a minute.
Can you stand to be inconvenienced if eternal glory is at stake? What does it look like to have this change of perspective?
How have we prioritized temporal comforts and missed out on eternal opportunities?