Christian Love For 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.’" Matthew 25:35-40
This passage had me in tears this morning and I am still a bit weepy. It has been a while since I have read this passage. Thankfully, I knew enough of it by heart to Google it. I was searching for this verse to use in a fundraising email I was sending out for a crisis pregnancy center this morning...
A little background - As the ministry coordinator for Acts413 Ministries, I find myself working on many varied tasks. The founder of Acts413 Ministries, Jim Maxim, is the chairman of the board for the HOPE Pregnancy Center in North Central Philadelphia. I have helped organize their fundraising banquets the last 3 years. Although I have organized many events, fundraising is new for me and very much out of my comfort zone. I am uncomfortable asking for money, even if it is not for myself. I still struggle with how to inspire people to give, even to a worthy cause like young mothers needing help with unplanned pregnancies.
With the pandemic cancelling events, our virtual fundraiser seemed even more of a challenge as we don't have the usual celebrity-speaker-draw or in-person “ask” for donations like we usually do at our annual banquets. As I woke this morning, I was feeling a little discouraged, and started brainstorming about what more I needed to “DO” to make this fundraiser a success for the center. Then, I realized I needed to pray. This was a bit of a “duh” moment; I work with a prayer ministry after-all. As with all our efforts for the kingdom, this fundraiser, (and my other virtual prayer event I’m currently planning), needed to be bathed in prayer. So, as I stood in the bathroom this morning after washing my face, I prayed this simple prayer. “Heavenly Father, Please help me. Please show me what to do. Please bless these two efforts for your glory. I know they are in your hands. In Jesus’ name, Amen.” I felt better because I knew what I had prayed was true. God would help me and it was in His hands.
After my morning routine - coffee, talking to my husband, feeding the dogs, I began putting the finishing touches on the fundraising email to be sent to our newsletter list. I searched for the Matthew 25 passage to include in my email, and upon reading it, my eyes instantly flooded with tears. I wasn't sure why at first and had to sit there and ask God why I had had this reaction. I realized it was because I had forgotten this important truth contained in the passage! Not only do we show love and mercy out of gratitude to God - “We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19, and out of obedience - “Jesus answered him, ‘If anyone loves me, he will keep my word,’” John 14:23; but, when we show love, mercy, and compassion for someone’s physical needs, we are doing it to Jesus himself! “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me." Matthew 25:40. WOW, this is so powerful, and this verse could not be any clearer. In these times of volatility and division, we are called to serve the stranger, the naked, the sick, and the imprisoned as though they are Jesus himself. I know that God answered my prayer for help today by bringing this verse to mind - even if it was only to remind me of His truths and embolden me to ask others for money for the vulnerable. It impacted me so powerfully that I felt lead to share it with you. If we turn a blind eye to those in need, (whatever their status, political affiliation etc.), we are turning a blind eye to Jesus. Matthew 25:35-40 is a great passage to meditate on as we seek to serve our communities.
Hopefully, pondering these truths will encourage you to support mercy ministries within your community and without. They need your money, yes, and they also need your physical support and prayers. Show up. Find out how you can help! Everyone has different gifts, talents, and networks that can be used to benefit these mercy ministries. May we strive to show Christian love to the world for the glory of God. "In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:16. Pray today that the Holy Spirit would show you how best to do this.
In case you were wondering, here is a great place to donate: MultiplyHOPE.Life