“Whatever you do to these the least of my brothers and sisters, you do unto me.” Matthew 25:40
Have You Seen Jesus Lately?
Today’s key verse is quite a statement and feels VERY convicting to those of us who want to love Jesus with all of our hearts.
Most of us would want to minister to Jesus, but don’t readily understand or embrace the opportunities we have to care for “the least of these” as we should. How can we teach our children to show love and compassion to the poor, when we do not personally know any impoverished people or are unsure of how to best help the downtrodden in our society?
Throughout Scripture, we see that impoverished people were very important to Jesus, and He wants them to be important to us as well. When I see a person with a sign standing on the corner of an intersection, I feel conflicted. I don’t want to give money that may be used to contribute to a chronic problem, but I also don’t want to simply ignore them either.
What do we do in this situation? We each need to ask the Holy Spirit to guide us. Perhaps we could donate to a social service that could give professional help or drive through a restaurant and bring them a meal. Maybe you plan a family day spent together helping at a local shelter or soup kitchen or make a few “Giving Bags” from today’s study and keep them in your car to help the homeless in your area.
Whatever we choose to do, we are not to ignore our brothers and sisters in need. Jesus was clear on that. We want to teach our children that compassion and action are important as we reach out in the love of Christ and obedience to his commands to remember the poor. (Galatians 2:10)
With some thought and preparation, we can lovingly teach our children to be compassionate and responsive to the poor and to be obedient to our Lord, who cared so much for all people. (I John 3:17)
What is the first impression you have of a homeless person? Be honest. Lazy? Ill? Dirty? Scary? What are we teaching our children? Ask God to help you see the person through His eyes (Proverbs 31:20)
Talk to your children about how Jesus gave value to the marginalized people of His day. (Proverbs 14:20)
Make “Giving Bags” and keep them in your car to give to needy people you encounter. Have your children pick out some protein bars at the store and bottles of water. Our church has printed little tickets saying “You are invited to a free meal.” On the back is listed all the places and times every day of the week where a meal is offered. If you don’t have such a tool, make one of your own.
Your children can help you. Put all these things plus a McDonald’s gift card in the bag. You might offer a small token representing God’s care for them and your promise to pray. Be creative. Keep the bags handy so your family can give a bit of encouragement to someone who needs it.
Occasionally I have also sensed a real immediate need. I was on my way to Walmart to buy a gift card when I encountered a mom needing money and housing for her children. I felt led to buy a gift card for her too so she could buy provisions for her family. I also bought her a meal and when I came back in my car I was in a perfect position to hand these things to her along with a prayer that housing would open up.
The Lord will use your family in all kinds of creative ways if you look for opportunity.
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