Scripture teaches that one of the true marks of a Christian is a servant’s heart like our Lord’s, willing to step up in times of need, willing to sacrifice our desires and resources and time and money in order to minister to those around us.
Matthew 25 reinforces this idea recounting Jesus’ parable about the sheep and goats. We are given a picture of the last days when Jesus, the “King,” will return in all his glory. All nations will be gathered around him, and he will place those who are to inherit his kingdom, his sheep, on the right, while those who are to receive eternal punishment, the goats, he places on his left.
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who 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 drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me. (v 34-40)
Christ’s admonition to the goats bears a timely warning: “I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me” (Matthew 25:42-43).
It’s not that our acts of service earn us a place in heaven, but rather, that our desire to serve (or lack thereof) is an accurate reflection of the state of our hearts. A person whose heart of stone has been turned to flesh by the Holy Spirit desires to serve as an offering of gratitude to the One who sacrificed so much to bring us salvation.
There is so much need all around us that it can be overwhelming to know where to begin to help. Here are several practical opportunities for us to provide literal food for the hungy, comfort for the sick, welcome to the stranger, and hope for the prisoner:
- Angel Tree still needs volunteers for their 12/7 Christmas party.
- TIF needs volunteers to bake up some goodies for their 12/4 Christmas party.
- The Elliots need meals during Popeng’s treatments. Details are included about how to sign up.
- Welcome Center volunteers are needed.
- Tuesday night Bible Study leaders are needed at the Federal Prison at 7th and Arch.
- Children with Special Needs Ministry has some classroom helper needs.
- Salt & Light is looking for someone to coordinate their events.
- Tenth Playgroup, an important outreach to the neighborhood, needs volunteers.
There are many other volunteer opportunities listed. Please consider how you will put Christ’s words into action: “As you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40).
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By Sarah Boghosian. © 2023 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org