And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” (Mark 9:35)
Yesterday we described the prevalence of service devoid of sacrifice in our society. As an antidote to this type of service we discussed having the mindset of Jesus. If you didn’t get a chance to review yesterday’s (Day 32) posting you may want to review it before continuing.
Today I want to deal with another powerful passage of scripture that also clearly spells out the “right” kind of service. This kind of service pays attention to “the least of these”. Read the words of our Lord from Matthew 25:35-40 (emphasis added):
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.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
Providing service to the well-off can often be done without much sacrifice. In fact, it can sometimes be rewarding from a worldly perspective. In contrast, providing service to the very poor, sick, young, old, incarcerated, or otherwise vulnerable can call for considerable sacrifice. To be very clear, I am not suggesting that we shouldn’t lovingly serve those who appear well-off. Sometimes they are more needy than it appears at face value. For many of us though, our real struggle is with making sacrifices to serve the vulnerable.
Jesus loves it when we are servants to the vulnerable.