– Chuck Colson
Feeding the Hungry
I don’t have to be a theologian to know how you can show God’s love and it’s a lot more than just saying it. In fact, love is a verb more than a noun. It is action oriented. It’s what you do, and in this case, it’s feeding the hungry, in as much as it is possible for you. Jesus said, “For I was hungry and you gave me food” (Matt 25:35a).
Water to the Thirsty
Jesus said, “whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward” (Matt 10:42), so He says elsewhere, “I was thirsty and you gave me drink” (Matt 25:35b), and even though you’re doing this for someone else, you’re really doing it to Christ (Matt 25:40).
It’s hard to be the new kid is school or new employer at work, and even a new guest at church, so the importance of making strangers is emphasized by Jesus Who said, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Matt 25:35c). You may not think this is a big deal, but try moving to a brand new state and city and not knowing anyone and see how you feel. Only then, you’ll appreciate how it is good to have someone make you feel welcome.
Clothing the Naked
Our church collects clothing that’s clean and in good condition for our nearby thrift shop which sells clothing and shoes for a very low price. They’ve been known to just give away clothing if they sense someone doesn’t have enough money to pay for their things. That’s the gospel of Christ as He said, “I was naked and you clothed me” (Matt 25:36a).
Seeing the Sick
When we go to visit the local residents in the nursing home, I believe we are visiting the orphans and widows in their affliction, which is what James called “pure religion” (James 1:27), and this is why Jesus said, “I was sick and you visited me” (Matt 25:36b), because He sees us visiting the sick in the hospitals and those in nursing homes (and in the VA, at Hospice, etc.), as if we were doing it for Him (Matt 25:40).
Visiting the Prisoners
Finally, a prison ministry lets us do what Jesus said to do unto Him; “I was in prison and you came to me” (Matt 25:36c). In fact, some of the prisoners who are released and join our church can actually say, “I was in prison and you came to me,” so as we know, Jesus sees it as visiting Him. To Him, there is no difference.
It’s easy to say, “I love God.” It’s another thing to prove it by feeding the hungry, giving a drink to the thirsty, making strangers feel welcome, clothing the poor, seeing the sick, and visiting the prisoners, either in person or by mail. That is what Jesus tells us to do and here is what He says to those who do those things for Him; “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matt 25:40), right before He says, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt 25:34).