Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.
Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.
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.’
When I was 11, I packed my bags for church camp. No one from my suburban church went with me. I felt alone, but another new girl from a Chicago church became a fast friend. After lights out one night, I talked with her about a favorite game we played at dusk in our neighborhood called Capture the Flag.
“Hey, are you asleep?” I whispered.
“No, it’s just…” her voice broke, “I would never be able to do that where I live.”
“I’d get shot, that’s why. It’s not safe.”
My heart dropped, realizing for the first time that our lives were vastly different. For most people, the journey into caring about the less resourced begins with proximity. So did mine.
Jesus said, “…whatever you did for one of the least of these…you did for me” (Matthew 25:40). “Yikes,” I thought as I reread those words the other day and reflected on my journey—getting to that place of being a ‘giver’ has been challenging for me.
God laughed when I married a man whose first thought is always, “How can I help?” I watched as he gave socks, shoes, cars, and anonymous checks to those in need. Then, I saw how his eyes lit up as he served, and finally, I dipped my toe into serving those experiencing homelessness.
As part of my journey of becoming a ‘giver,’ I had an epiphany one night. In talking with a woman, she mentioned she had been a stay-at-home parent. Her husband became abusive, and she was now on the run without any support systems. This could easily be my situation. In that moment, I realized that many of us are only one step away from poverty.
Recently at the Care Center, I was honored to learn from and serve our guests. We talked about cars, new babies coming their way, and eye infections. We are more alike than we are different. Indeed, I felt like I was holding the hand of Jesus as I prayed with people.
I also looked over at my friends who had gathered at the end of our shift. We’ve faithfully served at the Care Center together for years. They know the same thing as me: that our world is filled with fragile souls looking for the hope that only our great God can bring. We humbly bring that hope week after week and undoubtedly receive it back.
Our guests and fellow servants of Jesus have taught me to live my life with open hands. I am so grateful and so incredibly blessed.
Have you dipped your toe into serving yet? Willow offers many ways to do so. Check out the options below and watch how God meets you and others as you do so.