When it comes to serving others, I have a lot to learn. Sometimes I fail to serve others because my feet are frozen in fear or because my heart would rather be served or because my mind is too caught up in me, myself, and I.
Even in this jumble, Jesus loves me, and He keeps training and teaching me how to be His hands and feet, how to let His life and love live through me.
In a powerful teaching, Jesus describes how each of us will come before Him in the end for an assessment of all we have or haven’t done (see Matthew 25:31–46). Here’s part of that passage from The Message:
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:
I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’
Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’ ”
Now, let me clarify: The entirety of the Bible and the Lord’s life and teachings tells us that salvation is by the grace of God through faith in Christ Jesus alone to forgive and make things right between us and God. Our service does not earn us a place with God.
In this passage, however, Jesus speaks of the reality that a life redeemed by that grace through faith displays certain characteristics. One of those traits is a life of selfless, loving, willing service unto others. It is a life that looks increasingly similar to the life of Jesus Christ—one that chooses death to self for the love of others.
Only the power of God can transform a life to look like that! But that is what He is pleased to do, and that process is what the redeemed are happy to yield to.
And so, coming back to what Jesus said in this passage, I have to ask myself: What have I done to Jesus?
Have I loved Jesus by loving the hungry or the thirsty, the homeless or the shivering, the sick or the imprisoned?
Or have I overlooked and ignored Him?
The honest truth is that I have overlooked and ignored way more than I have loved and served.
But I am also encouraged that God’s heart is for those in need—so as my eyes are looking for ways to love God, God will nudge me to love the hungry, thirsty, homeless, shivering, sick, and imprisoned.
What an honor it would be to attend to the King of All Creation—to do this for King Jesus.