Step It Up
In a recent New York Times article, Zimbabwean native, Goodwell Nzou, shared his thoughts on the recent outcry for Cecil the Lion as he stated: “We Zimbabweans are left shaking our heads, wondering why Americans care more about African animals than about African people.” Needless to say, this article caused me to do a serious heart check. We can’t just look the other way anymore. Life matters to Jesus, sacrificing His for ours. He stepped in. The time has come for us to step up.
Faith that Jesus seeks is not about coasting through life in our Christian social clubs. Faith that Jesus calls for is a mission. It is actively being light in a darkened world.
In Matthew 25:31-40, Jesus paints a picture of what active faith looks like. Looking beyond the walls of self, we are called to reach out and meet the needs of the ‘least of these’.
Ever wonder about the people that Jesus refers to as the “least of these”? They are people we see every day—the hurting, the lonely, the rejected, the criminals, the ugly, the beaten down, and the ones who struggle to be accepted. The term also includes the husband and wife who want to give up on their marriage, the family that is falling apart, the co-worker that just got laid off, the annoying cashier, or the dad who is having a hard time relating to his child.
You know them. You run into them regularly. The people that Jesus called “the least of these” are in your sphere of influence. Every person who you come into contact with is an opportunity to express the love of God- to reveal His heart.
Jesus’ heart longs for “the least of these.” He touched lepers. He spoke to outcasts. He partied with sinners and chose the uneducated fishermen to be His closest of followers!
Most often, Jesus’ encounters with these people occurred in very casual of places, like the local water cooler (John 4) or as he traveled (Mark 10:17-22). In our lives, we regularly have casual encounters with people whose hearts are overwhelmed by burdens. Each day, we encounter the “least of these.”
It is time to look beyond “ME’, past our political leanings, to see the people in our midst. Brokenness surrounds. Jesus stepped in. It is time to step up.