March 3, 2024 | 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)
One of the most awe-inspiring aspects of God’s nature is that He passionately and relentlessly pursues all people “from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9 NIV). Each life is valued dearly by Him; so dearly that it cost Him His only Son to redeem the world.
Such love would clearly go any distance to reach the lost and the least—those who are suffering, hurting, and in need. And here’s the amazing thing: He includes us in this amazing work to change lives and save people! Today and every day, we have the opportunity to arise and go the distance to reach our neighbor, our nation, and the ends of the earth with His great love and to demonstrate His profound compassion for “the least of these” . . . those described in Matthew 25 as the hungry and thirsty, the stranger, the sick, the naked, and the prisoner.
I love this passage! At the core, Jesus is telling us that any time we help someone in need, advocate for the vulnerable, defend the defenseless, act as father to the fatherless, or care for the weak, downtrodden, hurting, sick, broken, and lost, we’re actually doing it for Him! It’s a genuine, pure act of worship and an offering of love to Jesus! Isn’t that amazing?!
Notice something with me: The commendation from Jesus here isn’t between doing good to the least of these or doing evil against them. It’s actually between doing good or doing nothing! You see, there’s NO ROOM for indifference in the life of a Christ follower. None. The difference between action and indifference from the church is the difference between life and death, both in the literal/physical sense and in the spiritual/eternal sense.
We can’t afford to be indifferent towards the people Jesus has called us to serve, love, and reach with the gospel for His kingdom to the glory of God. We can’t afford to be indifferent towards the Holy Spirit who prompts our hearts toward advocacy and action for the vulnerable. We can’t afford to be indifferent towards the needs of the people in our neighborhoods, communities, and world. And we can’t afford to be indifferent towards injustice. Why? Because God is not indifferent toward them. God is a God of justice and mercy, He’s “a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, . . . God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing” (Psalm 68:5-6 NIV).
And listen, as bluntly as I can say this, to see something wrong, to see injustice, hurt, brokenness, and need and to do nothing, the apostle John would ask, “How can the love of God be in that person?” (1 John 3:17 NIV). And Proverbs 21:13 (NIV) tells us, “Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered.” So, you could say that to do nothing is to participate in the injustice!
Friends, our world is full of darkness and injustice that should keep us up at night! Why? Because “we are . . . Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us” (2 Corinthians 5:20 NIV). And the best way to make this appeal and carry the light of the world to the least of the world is by meeting their needs in the name of Jesus!
Pause: Can you remember a time when a stranger helped you out in a situation when you had no one else to turn to or to expect a helpful hand?
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. I pray there would be no traces of apathy or indifference in my heart toward the vulnerable and needy. Instead, that there would be an unquenchable fire in my heart for the people around me, for those who are hurting, broken, marginalized, and downtrodden. Give me the boldness, courage, and passion to advocate and act on their behalf for their good, for their salvation, and for Your glory. Amen.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.