It’s been a while since I’ve written a post blog. It’s been more than a week since I’ve stopped to study the biblical reason for serving the least, the lost, and the lonely. To be sure, I think about this all the time. But thinking about something and acting on that thought is a whole different thing. The truth is this, I’ve been changed by looking at scripture through the lens of how God cares for His people, that is to say, everyone.
We’ve been taught to love God, love our neighbors, and love ourselves. Let’s linger there for a moment. My search was straightforward. All I did was enter the phrase, “love your neighbor,” and suddenly, the screen is filled with references. When I entered that phrase with quotes in Google, I got over 4 million responses in less than a second. Wow! Here are some specific references from the Bible:
Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:18
And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:39-40
and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Romas 13:9-10
For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14
If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. James 2:8
The same God who distilled all of the Law into a single statement demonstrates His care throughout the Bible. From Leviticus to James, the quotes above span hundreds of years. The entire law is fulfilled. That’s a huge statement! If that’s the case, and I’m confident it is, then we must be able to find evidence of this concept throughout the Bible. When I read from this perspective, the words come to life in a whole new way.
This morning I thought about the full days of the previous week. Zoë and I have been going non-stop, it seems, often in separate directions, but on the same mission. It’s been a compelling series of events to be sure, but I haven’t had the time to stop and write down my thoughts. I’m not feeling guilty about skipping out, not at all. It’s more of a longing to get back to a place where I can sit and bask in His glory. Then I saw His face. Well, the concept of His image.
What I sensed was a warm smile that looked at me with endless patience with the assurance that He was waiting for me. Joy began to fill my heart. Real joy.
“Take your time, son. I’m right here by your side. When you’re ready, let’s pick up the discussion again. I have lots to tell you. Way more than the brief thoughts you enjoy in the Bible.”
I have complete confidence that God is in control all the time. We need to move with a sense of urgency, but not in a manic state of haste. I’m so grateful for my time with Jesus, and I’m filled with joy when I think it only gets better when we’re done with our brief time on earth in this form.
So what does this all have to do with serving the least of these? I’m glad you asked. The next time you read the Bible or hear someone teach on a particular passage, look for the ways that God is showing His love for people. Notice that we don’t need to qualify people as rich or poor, tall or short, black or white, and so forth.
As we begin to look more like Jesus, we will naturally start to love others better. But just like thinking about writing is different than acting on the idea, love only comes to life when we do something. Can you love those in poverty if you are not somehow involved in serving others? Do you really care about feeding people if you’re not serving somewhere?
It’s really not hard, but it’s rarely convenient, and it always requires sacrifice.
The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. Psalm 103:6
God is so committed to this mission that He sent Jesus to die on the cross by the hands of the very people He was coming to save. If God is that committed, so must I move from thought to action.
Lord, we see your mighty hand in action all around us. We marvel at the way you work for good in ways that leave us speechless, at people who sacrifice without apology to reach out to those our society would rather not see. Lord, melt our hearts for that which burns in yours. Show us one small step we can make to change the direction of someone in need positively and wonderfully, even if we never see the results.
Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Psalm 103:1