Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that 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 something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me. Then the righteous will answer him, “LORD, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” —Matthew 25:34-40 (NSRV)
This particular piece of scripture always comes to mind when I think about missional living. At the heart of this message is the act of seeing and serving. In order to live missionally in our everyday lives, we must be actively seeing the people around us. Our day-to-day lives are often dictated by schedules and a to-do list that prevent us from truly seeing when those around us are in need. If you are anything like me, you understand what it is like to stand in a checkout line trying to calculate how fast you can unload and put away the groceries, remember to take out the chicken for dinner, throw in a load of laundry, run back out to get the birthday card you forgot to get last week and then get your family ready in time to go to the church softball game (Monday nights, you should be there!). What I am saying is that I am so wrapped up in my own little pieces of life, that I miss opportunities to serve Jesus. I challenge us to slow down, take a deep breath and to really look at the people around us.
Once we begin to see the needs of those around us in our everyday lives, we can begin to ask ourselves how we can serve them. Missions is about intentionally serving. We can act with purpose for the people we encounter in our daily lives. Is your neighbor experiencing a difficult time in their life? How about going out for a cup of coffee and companionship. Do you pass by a homeless person on your way to work? Pack an extra lunch to offer them. With the summer months approaching, carry extra water when heading to the beach to share with others. There are lots of ways to be purposeful in our daily interactions with others. Sometimes it is as easy as sincerely asking someone how they are doing and then listening when they share. Jesus models this for us throughout the gospels. He would be journeying from place to place, undoubtedly with a schedule to keep (I am sure at least one of the disciples had a type A personality), and would stop because He truly saw people and their needs. I challenge us to think about Matthew 25:34-40 this week as we go through our typical day and to look for people we can serve, whether that be through food, drink, clothing, care or companionship.
Click here to take a quick inventory of how involved you are in the community and consider ways you can see and serve there.
Dear God, I ask that you help us to become everyday servants, to see those around us and to serve them so that we may continue to glorify you in all that we do. Amen
Jacquelyn Leif and her husband, Rob, live in Salem with their 4-year-old son and regularly attend NSCBC.