With all the competing interests in our lives, and our strained efforts at trying to live a faithful Christian life, sometimes we feel pulled from several directions to serve God by meeting the needs of those around us. Challenges from pulpit messages and guilt from TV ads of hurting children or tornado victims humbles us. How could it be that there is freedom in any of this to serve Christ as He has called us?
In the article link below, one pastor has tried to keep it simple in her own life. (see this link – http://faithinmemphis.com/2011/06/04/place-of-grace-serving-the-least-of-these/). Rev. Diane Harrison cited Matthew’s gospel chapter 25 as being Christ’s priorities for us, from her point-of-view. See verses 41-43: “Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’” Pastor Harrison calls that passage Jesus’s ‘Top Six’ priorities, and that is how she focuses her service to the least in her community.
There is also James’s passage, chapter 1, verses 26-27: “If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.”
We cannot escape the tribulations of this world. Jesus told His disciples: “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” Our peace comes not in avoiding the needs of others; but in knowing that in the service of the King, those small things done for the least of these are done unto the Lord Himself (Matthew 25:40). And acting as His hands and feet also means forgiving those who have hurt others or even hurt us, just as Jesus forgave us our sins (Matthew 6:14-15). Those are Jesus’s priorities for us.