Have you ever wondered why you choose to hang out with the people you do? Generally, we like to spend time with people we consider friends, and in most cases, those friendships are based on mutuality: we enjoy each other’s company, there’s the give-and-take of rapport and relationship, and both of us end up encouraged and edified. We can contrast this dynamic with relationships that seem more one-sided, and we perhaps try to steer clear of people who seem a bit too “needy.”
Defining and protecting boundaries is an essential part of healthy relationships, and a manageable life. We recognize that we have legitimate needs that can sometimes be met through other people (for example, intimacy, relationship and accountability). We recognize, too, that there are times we’ll be called to be more on the giving end of the relationship equation. Jesus specifically taught on these situations in Matthew 25:
‘I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matt. 25:35-40, NIV)
Jesus claims that there will be many times we’re called to embrace interactions and relationships that skew heavily toward giving rather than receiving. Why? Because as we serve those within our sphere of influence, who could be numbered among “the least of these,” we have opportunity to serve Jesus Christ himself.
I’m really looking forward to the many opportunities we’ll have in the month of May to engage deeply in this topic of serving lovingly and winsomely among those who might very well be the least of these in our contexts. On May 4th, we’ll have the opportunity to run, jog, wheel or walk in Elm Creek Park Preserve as we join in one of many World Vision Global 6K events held across the world. Proceeds from this event go directly to clean water projects supported through Covenant Kids Congo.
On May 5th, we’ll kick off the “Matthew 25 Challenge,” which will be a week-long deep dive into identifying with, empathizing with, and growing in our understanding of folks near and far who are literally thirsty, hungry, needing clothes, hospitalized and in prison. We’ll have opportunities all week long to consider how blessed we are, and how God has given us both the resources and proximity to make a real difference in people’s lives.
On May 12th, we’ll celebrate God’s work through the Global 6K and the Matthew 25 Challenge, and we’ll share stories of how God has stretched us, and what he’s inviting us to next. We’ll also be challenged and encouraged that day to consider the immigrants who may be “the least of these” in our cities and neighborhoods, and what the Bible has to say about how we can welcome and engage them in God-honoring ways. Guest speaker Kyliah Villa will speak on this topic during the adult Sunday School hour.
May God bless you and may God guide us all as we take next steps in serving alongside each other, growing together as we go together to live and love selflessly, following the model of our Lord Jesus Christ.