Our Bible verse for today: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “You bless Jesus when you bless others”
In yesterday’s devotional we learned that Jesus reminds us that we will always have the poor with us. When He said that He wasn’t just talking about the poor, that was simply the example He chose to use. His fuller meaning is that because this is a sin-stained and broken world, there will always be lots of people in various kinds of distress and need. We also learned that the awareness of someone suffering or in distress will often serve to bring out the good in others. It will elicit acts of kindness and mercy and compassion. That still doesn’t make a bad situation good, but it does add value to it.
Since suffering in all forms is so much a part of the world we live in, the Bible is filled from beginning to end with exhortations for God’s people to do something about it. We are to be the conduit in this world through which the love, mercy, kindness, compassion, and resources of God flow to people in need. This is so important to God that in Matthew 25:40 Jesus said that when you do it for one of those in need, you have effectively done it directly for Him. He receives your act of mercy and compassion as if He Himself was the one in need and you did this thing for Him personally. Here are a few general principles which apply to situations like this:
First, if you are the one who is suffering or in need of assistance, please know that God loves you unconditionally. Your disability, or the tornado that destroyed your home, or the death of your loved one, does not mean that God doesn’t love you, and it doesn’t mean that your life is of less value because of this. Your suffering grieves God and He wants to minister to you in the middle of it.
Second, recognize that most of God’s blessings come to us through other people. Your suffering is an opportunity for them to serve the Lord by serving you – so let them. Be humble enough to graciously accept the help.
Third, for those who have the privilege of being on the giving side of the equation, recognize that “There but for the grace of God go I.” In other words, it could have been you in the place of that needy or suffering person. And, in the future, it very well may be. So, treat that person the way you would want others to treat you if it was you in that situation. Treat them with compassion and kindness and especially … with respect. Don’t treat them like they’re your ministry project. Don’t assume the attitude that they’re poor and you’re not and therefore you are going to throw them this little bone of assistance. This is a hurting person in need of help. This is a person God loves and whose suffering grieves His heart. This is Jesus in disguise.
Just because someone is limited, disabled, suffering, or in need, doesn’t mean their life is any less valuable than yours. Instead it means that you now have an opportunity to make this world a slightly better place, one person at a time, one situation at a time, by blessing them in their time of need. I encourage you to find someone you can help today.