35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:35-40)
Based on the feedback over the last two days, we are going to consider the Discipline of Service for another day. Over the last two days we have focused primarily on the “servant”, today we examine a passage that focuses heavily on the people being “served”. Jesus clearly cared about these people and our aim is to be like Him.
Please read the passage and answer the questions below.
- How would you categorize the people Jesus identified in the passage, and how challenging is it to serve these people?
- How can we stay motivated to serve even when the recipients of service are not who we would choose?
March 9, 2016 at 8:14 am
I see five categories here in this story.
1.. A physical inner need (hunger and thirst)
2.. A physical social need (stranger)
3.. A physical outer need (clothing)
4.. A physical medical need (sick)
5.. A physical captive need (in prison)
Some of these needs are easier met than some. Some take less sacrifice than others. I can easily get to people who need clothes, food, even medical need. However, how willing, for security reasons, am I to go into a prison, or to invite a stranger to my home.
One good way to keep motivated to serve is to put yourself or a love one, in another persons position and to think how you would want others to treat you.
Keep your eyes and thoughts on the example Christ has set for us to follow.
March 9, 2016 at 1:23 pm
1. How would you categorize the people Jesus identified in the passage, and how challenging is it to serve these people?
2. How can we stay motivated to serve even when the recipients of service are not who we would choose?
This is a particularly challenging topic for me as I so often struggle to discern what is right in this area. I mean I pass homeless people on the streets every day on my walk to and from work, yes, even here in London (and the cold makes it worse here). We’ve all heard the popular arguments against giving money “as they will just buy another drink (or worse) with it”, and we also know the truth that our motives for giving must be to love the needy and not appease our own consciences, but really, how do we navigate our own behaviours in the midst of so much need? I mean, how do you be the Good Samaritan when you pass a victim (or three or more) every day?
I notice that Jesus refers to the needy here as “brothers and sisters” of his. Is he saying that these are children of God, and as such are believers? That would be easy as I do not struggle with the doctrine of brotherly love within the Body. But obviously we are not really expected to check the needy person’s credentials before helping him any more than did the Good Samaritan. Yes, we are commanded to show His love to a world in need, without ‘exclusivity’. I look forward to hearing the thoughts of others.
March 9, 2016 at 10:35 pm
I have the same struggles you do Lester. On the one hand Jesus clearly expects us to care for “the least of these”. On the other hand 2 Thessalonians tells us that “if any man would not work, neither should he eat. Spiritual discernment is clearly required to determine who to help. Personally,I need to be much more in tune with the Spirit’s leading.
March 10, 2016 at 4:29 am
Thank you Norman. That is the truth indeed.
March 9, 2016 at 6:52 pm
The broadest category would be His creation. Those He love. Sometimes it’s hard to help because people don’t want others to know their greatest needs. There are many opportunities to partner with agencies and your local church to accomplish these activities.
We can stay motivated to serve even when the recipients of service are not who we would choose if we consider that we were not worthy of the greatest gift God gave us through His Son.
Lord give me eyes to see the hurting, resources to help and a willing and compassionate heart.