"When someone steals a person's clothes, we call him a thief. Should we not give the same name to one who could clothe the naked and does not? The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry; the coat hanging unused in your closet belongs to those who need it; the shoes rotting in your closet to the one who has no shoes. The money which you hoard up belongs to the poor."
~ Basil of Caesarea
Many of us receive many blessings and gifts during the Christmas season from friends and family members. Why not take the time afterwards to go through some of our possessions that we have multiples of (like coats, shoes, other articles of clothings...toys belonging to our children they no longer play with, etc.) and consider giving them to those that truly need it.
I think it's great that so many of my fb friends are lifting up those that are homeless, suffering and in poverty in prayer. I can't help but feel a little conflicted when I read all the praying going around for others in need though...for the fact that I think God also calls us to act, actively, in the areas of service towards our neighbors. Sometimes it just seems what is implied is a prayer for those who are suffering...I hear little mention of anything else, nothing of extending oneself in service for those who are homeless and in poverty. Is prayer enough?...I think prayer is instrumental and essential in one's faith and is invaluable in acheiving an active relationship with God and receiving insights and truths, and can move mountains if it be God's will.
All that being said, God doesn't call us to simply be a people of prayer...he calls us to be people of action. To be children that are servants manifesting his love and giving Him glory amidst the darkness of a fallen world. He calls us to actively shine our lights into the darkness...and for people to see this light, they see it through our actions, perhaps more so than through our prayers, especially from the perspective of nonbelievers. Many people consider the saying, "talk is cheap" and are much more convinced of someone's concern for them when it is displayed through actions. We are his body-his hands, his feet, his legs...carrying His message of hope and redemption, lifting up those that have fallen, those that are in despair and those that are suffering. God expects us to actively help people...In fact, we will be held accountable for our actions, or inactions...not just our prayers..but in the way that we manifest our faith actively in this world.
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For 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, 36 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.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “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.’
Phillipians 2:7 tells us that Jesus humbled himself and took on the very nature of a servant. Jesus actively served others, giving up all claim to possessions, instead seeking out souls that were hungry and thirsty for salvation and healing. We are called to have the "mind of Christ" and to conform to his likeness. That would certainly mean that we, too, should be active servants like Jesus was.
I know many who read this blog are already very much aware of the need to be active servants of God. But it is always a good reminder. Sometimes in our busy and hectic lives it can be an easy thing to forget. May the Spirit, through prayer, direct us in more and more ways we can serve God in the contexts of our families, our local communities and globally.
We thank you for all the material and spiritual blessings that you've poured out on us. Thank you for blessing us with people in our lives to love, to share memories with, to be loved by. Thank you for your son who brought to the world redemption and hope. May you draw us daily into your presence through prayer and meditation. May you help our souls be attentive to the whispers of your Spirit and may it illuminate to us ways in which we can serve others more through our actions, sometimes great and sometimes small. Even the smallest blessing, the smallest gesture of love and grace can manifest itself into abundant fruit. May we bearers of fruit and laborers of love for the manifestation of your Kindom here on earth.
In Jesus' precious name,