‘…Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’
Matthew 25:40 (MSG)
As Christians, our job is to worship the Lord and to bear witness of him to others. As such, we proclaim the good news of Jesus to others so that they will also know the wonderful truth, and in doing this, we demonstrate to others the love of Jesus. We don’t do this through political activism, as our priority is people knowing the truth about Jesus. We are not trying to establish the Kingdom of God through our own strength now, as the full establishment of the Kingdom of God is something that will only happen in the future after Jesus’s return. However, this is not an excuse to sit back and ignore the problems of the world, as the love of Jesus in us will naturally lead us to empathise with the suffering of others and to engage in their lives so we can help them in their suffering.
This feeling of sadness at the plight of others, and taking practical steps to help those who are suffering, is something Jesus highlighted as being so important. When we do something to help someone else, it is as if we are doing it to Jesus. It’s easy to say that we would do whatever Jesus wants us to do for him, while at the same time ignoring the suffering of those around us, all of whom are beloved children of God, who Jesus died for. As James, the brother of Jesus, said, ‘…I will show you my faith by my deeds.’ (James 2:18 NIV).
The GCI theme for 2023 is ‘Remember your first love’. I’m reminded of how easy it can be to be on fire for Jesus at the beginning of our Christian lives, and for other things to get in the way as time goes by, making us less likely to step out and live a life of service to him. Let’s remember his words in Matthew 25 and recommit to living lives dedicated to our Lord and Saviour, demonstrated not only by our praise and witness of him, but overflowing out into how we treat others. As the apostle Paul says, ‘…I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice…’ (Romans 12:1 NIV).
Jesus died for us, making our place in heaven assured. Also, God doesn’t need our service, as he can do anything. However, let’s make 2023 a year when we contemplate the wonderful truth of what Jesus has done; a year when our lives are lived for worship and witness; a year when this wonderful truth naturally overflows out of us to alleviate the suffering of our brothers and sisters in our communities.
Father, thank you for what Jesus has done for us, and for all creation. Please help us to feel for those who are suffering, as you do. Please show us where you want us to be working, and give us the compassion, strength and wisdom to be your servants in the work you are doing. In Jesus’s name, Amen.
Study by Anthony Dady
About the writer:
Anthony Dady is a minister in Grace Communion International and is the Regional Pastor for Wales, the Midlands, and Northern England.
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