August 5, 2016
READ: Matthew 25:31-46
I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me! (v.40).
I’m the point person for the visitation team at my church. This means that I visit people in the hospital, at their homes and in care homes. I also solicit volunteers to go out and visit others and provide encouragement, spiritual conversations and prayer. Being ill can be a lonely path for many—especially the elderly. Yet younger people can also contract serious illnesses and experience difficulties.
When I visit people in their most vulnerable moments, most often when they’re sick, I feel as if I’m in a thin place. ‘Thin place’ is a Celtic Christian concept, as author Amy Julia Becker explains. “The Celts believed that physical locations existed in which God’s presence was more accessible than elsewhere, places where heaven and earth seemed to touch, where the line between holy and human met for a moment.”
In Matthew 25, Jesus tells us that when we visit and care for the sick, we’re also visiting Him: “When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you? And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ ” (vv.39-40). He goes on to say that when we refused to help “the least of these” we are choosing not to “help [Him]” (v.45).
None of us should suffer alone. God has placed within us a desire to care for others and to be ministered to by them. Even Jesus, in the garden of Gethsemane, needed friends to keep Him company on the darkest night of His life (26:36-46).
As you spend time with those who are sick and hurting, remember that you are truly imitating Jesus as well as ministering to Him (25:35-36). He provides what we need to reveal His compassionate heart.
365-day plan: Luke 12:1-21
Reflect on James 5:13-15 and why it’s vital for us to humble ourselves and seek the prayers and help of others when we’re in need.
What hurting person will you visit this week—extending the grace and love of Jesus? How have you experienced the love of Jesus through another person?