Food for Friday

For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat, I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink, I was a stranger, and ye took me in. Matthew 25:35

We read of faithful and generous women who devoted themselves to providing meals for the Lord Jesus and His disciples during His earthly ministry. Theirs was a great privilege, and they received warm praise and encouragement from the Lord Himself. This was not a small contribution, because food in those days, as well as today, was not cheap, and the preparing and serving of it took time and effort. For those ladies, the privilege of contributing in this way was its own reward, and they were glad to do it for their Lord and Master. We know that there is a wonderful reward for those ladies for such devotion and selfless contribution. But our text reminds us that the Lord Jesus also notes every selfless act that is done for Him, including those deeds done by ourselves.

The women who served meals to the Lord Jesus could appreciate how the Lord Himself would benefit from those meals. They could see how He was refreshed and nourished, and note how He appreciated the various dishes they would prepare. We can’t see that today, because the Lord Jesus is not physically with us as we move through our lives. But we can see how His representatives respond as we serve them. Our parable reminds us that those deeds of kindness and caring, generosity and helping that we bestow on the Lord’s people are deeds that we bestow upon Himself. He notes all such acts, and records them for our future reimbursement. Even to a cup of water given in His name does He extend His promise of reward. That should be an encouragement to us to be kind and generous as much as possible. But to whom do we owe this kindness and generosity?

The giving of a sandwich to a wealthy, well-fed man is not much of a blessing given. But the same sandwich given to a poor and hungry woman is a wonderful blessing given. Just as the Lord Jesus was attuned to the needs of the needy around Him, so we should be aware of those folks around us who are in need. Just as the Lord Jesus could identify the need and provide appropriately, so we should pay attention to the needs that folks around us have, and do what we can to meet those specific needs. The Lord Jesus promised a reward for each kindness bestowed on even the least of His brethren. How do we identify His brethren? Does this apply only to those Christians we know, or those who are in our own Assembly? Surely our vision must never be so narrow! Our responsibility could apply to anyone around us, or even to those in faroff lands who have been brought to our attention. If our Lord makes us aware of a need, we ought to meet it.

Serving others is the same as serving our Lord. We can do that! -Jim MacIntosh

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