(Jesus said) "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. ... The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for Me.'" Matthew 25:35-36, 40
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The salvation story of Jesus Christ reaches around the world. So that the readers of our Daily Devotion may see the power of the Savior on a global scale, we have asked the volunteers of our International Ministry Centers to write our Friday devotions. We pray that the Spirit may touch your day through their words.
In Christ, I remain, His servant and yours,
Kenneth R. Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
How far removed Christians can be sometimes from doing those things the Lord has plainly told us to do. Jesus speaks here of addressing the most practical of needs: hunger, thirst, shelter, clothing, sickness and imprisonment. How does the urgency of meeting these basic and widespread needs among our human neighbors go unnoticed by so many and, in particular, by those who claim Christ as Lord and Savior?
Preoccupation is one reason to be sure. The world today is ever looking for "the next best thing" to come rolling down the pike. A mindset whirling with gadgets, toys and other material fixations leaves us self-absorbed with precious little time to devote to the hurting stranger among us.
Passing the buck of responsibility to someone else is a classic excuse. "My, that's a desperate situation," we might say, spotting someone in need. "There's a shelter just up the street that would be a good place for them, especially in this cold weather. I hope they find the agency or church or individual who can help them out." Ouch!
Then again, maybe disobedience is a factor here too. Can we recognize hunger, thirst, a lack of shelter or clothing and sickness when we see it? Do we know what a prisoner is? It's not for a lack of knowledge these things go unnoticed. It's when we turn our heads and ignore them that they go unnoticed.
We must remember that as Christians we are doing these actions for Jesus. We know He endured the loss of friends, the betrayal of His followers, the bitter whipping by Roman soldiers and, finally, crucifixion for each of us. And we know that by His resurrection, Satan has been conquered and our salvation has been won. We see His love and are motivated to do something for Him for all He has done for us.
But just what can we do?
Today's Bible reading gives us the perfect answer. We can do the obvious things Jesus mentions above. Whenever we do things like these, though they may seem unimportant, it is as if we did it for Jesus. By helping people in need we can respond to the wonderful love of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
As Christians -- more than all people -- let us find ourselves busy doing those things the Savior plainly told us to do.
THE PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank You for the great love You have shown us. Thank You for dying and rising so we can live eternally with You. Help us to respond to Your great love with kind and cheerful actions for those in need, for then we understand we are really doing them for You. In Jesus' Name, we pray. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's devotion is based on a text submitted from a volunteer with Berhan Media Ministry in Ethiopia, otherwise known as Lutheran Hour Ministries-Ethiopia. Established in 1996 in the capital of Addis Ababa, LHM-Ethiopia spreads the Gospel in this country of 85 million through evangelism rallies, Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC) and the Equipping the Saints (ETS) program working in partnership with church congregations to organize these workshops.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhmint.org.