This past week was very stressful for a good friend of mine, who we’ll call Bob. Bob became homeless, despite working tirelessly day and night. Unfortunately for Bob, he spent almost half of his life in prison, which means that few people want to hire him, and few people want him living in their apartment complexes. When he became homeless, he had nowhere to go for help. Having been involved with outreach programs through the Church, I naturally suggested that he become involved at a parish. I told him that he could find a support group that really cared for him, and could help him find a place to live, with a good community. He refused. Unfortunately, Bob is very hardened towards churches. His experience of Christians has been that they are very apathetic, and hardly ever help those in need.
I wish I could say that Bob is the only person I know who has not found love among Christians. In the past few years of working with the homeless I have found that a majority of them are hardened against the Church. They see Christians as a group of people that only associate with each other and never offer to help outsiders in need.
When we serve the lowly, we are not only serving other people who are of incredible worth to God, but we are also serving God Himself.
Do you know what? Sometimes I have to agree with the sentiment. I know so many amazing, loving Christians who would do so much damage to Satan’s attacks if they just stepped outside their comfort zones. It can be unnerving, visiting a homeless shelter or going to a poor area of town. But we all need to show Christ’s love to the poor. Many of us have heard Matthew 25:40: “And the King will answer them, I assure you: Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.” Jesus was saying that when we serve the lowly, we are not only serving other people who are of incredible worth to God, but we are also serving God Himself. What an honor!
I would like to encourage you to answer the call to service. We Christians should not be limited to helping out at Church functions, assuming that other people will serve the secular community. Christians, let’s show the world how much they are loved! Let them see our good works and glorify the Lord! I challenge you right now: If your life doesn’t regularly involve service of people outside of your home or parish, take a few minutes right now and find opportunities to do so. I will leave you with an encouraging thought: many people have told me that they came to Jesus because of the love that Christians showed them.