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February 28, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“‘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, 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.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 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 (NIV)
Once we surrender to Christ, receive His gift of salvation, and begin our lives as His new creations, we are given a new identity! Two major aspects of our new identity involve our adoption and our commission.
Within the first chapter of the Book of John, he says that “to those who believed in [Jesus’] name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12 NIV), and Paul writes in Romans that the Spirit we received upon salvation brought about our “adoption to sonship” (Romans 8:15 NIV). Additionally, we have been called “Christ’s ambassadors” (2 Corinthians 5:20 NIV).
With our new identity, comes a new purpose and motivation! We live as children of God, co-heirs with Christ, and representatives of His kingdom on earth by speaking His truth, sharing His love, and obeying His Word. And the reason we can live in such a loving way is because He loved us first (1 John 4:19)!
With this in mind, let’s take another look at today’s Scripture. Jesus is talking about the future judgement of God. God will turn to believers who truly followed Him and tell them that they served, clothed, and cared for Him when He was in need. Even though He never appeared to be physically in need, He associates all the needy with Himself saying, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40 NIV).
Serving and sacrificing for others should be more than another task to check off of our “Christian To-Do List.” Truly loving and caring for those in need certainly is a responsibility of ours as Christ-followers, but it is also a privilege and a joy!
Being that our new identity as co-heirs with Jesus makes us both friends with Christ and part of His family, we should look to those He loves and love them as well! We should serve them regardless of our differences—whether they be social, racial, cultural, political, or you name it—because the same Jesus who died on the cross to save you and me is the same Jesus who died to save them. If He calls them and treats them as brothers and sisters, then we should too.
PAUSE: What is keeping you back from serving those in need in your community?
PRACTICE: Reach out to someone in need today. Whether it be preparing a small bag of food and water for a homeless person or cooking a meal for a family that is struggling, take an active step to love like Jesus loves us!
PRAY: Dear Lord, thank You for considering me family and adopting me as Your child through Christ! I don’t deserve Your grace, yet You have labeled me worthy. I ask that You give me boldness and courage to be an ambassador that actively shares this grace and love with others not only today, but every day. Amen.