At my last church in Bellingham, Washington, I started to design a ministry based on Matthew 25: 31-40 called “Inherit the Kingdom.” Below are those words:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 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.’
To me this is a blueprint of sorts of what God is expecting from all believers, to play the part of the servant through our helpfulness to one another. Because, as the verses say, when we help the least of these by brothers, we are, in turn helping God. Our helpfulness is then a part of our ministry.
When we help our brothers and sisters on earth in the name of God, we are participating in the greatest form of worship. If our life here is meant to teach us valuable lessons, then the greatest of these lessens can be learned as we serve one another.
Imagine if that were our focus. What kind of a world would we enjoy if everyone was content to see His neighbor benefit from our efforts? I guess that would be heaven.
And, of course, God does not expect anymore from us then He is willing to do Himself. From Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” From Hebrews 13:6, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?
Though we show our faults so easily be serving our selves before we do our neighbors, God stays true to His promise to guide the willing. Though we fall time and time again into sin, His Holy Spirit, the promised Helper, continues to work in our hearts to lead us to salvation. Luther says, “It is impossible for God to forsake anyone who relies on Him and clings to Him. In fact, He helps us more and better than we can possibly desire.
To emulate that quality of God to our neighbors is to bring the glory of God to our world. To walk the walk of Jesus Christ is to fulfill our destiny of servanthood. To feed the hungry, provide water for the thirsty, welcome the stranger, cloth the naked, and visit the sick and imprisoned is to be Christ to people who desperately need a Savior.
In the past year, we have seen a lot of struggle. Our neighbors are in need of Christ more now then ever and we are those hands and feet that can make a positive difference in their lives. I urge you all to find a ministry within your place of worship and beyond its walls. Inherit the kingdom by walking as citizens of the King. Think first of your neighbor and do what is right, even it if costs you.
Together, should we determine to bring love to overcome all the hatred we see, we can help this nation to heal. In your own ways, have a third eye open to practice your helpfulness. Be kind, practice love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22). Be who you were created to be, a servant of God and a helper of your fellow man. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, forgive us when we have chosen to help ourselves before we have helped others. Teach us a better way. Guide us to opportunities to practice our helpfulness and give us the courage to act on it. Amen.