February 1, 2005
Encouragement for Today
"Behold the Body of Christ"
Micca Campbell, Director of Outreach for Proverbs 31 Ministries, Certified Speaker
"Jesus said to him, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Matthew 22:37-39 (NKJ)
Jesus summarized the entire bible in two statements, "Love God and love others." At first glance, it appears that Christ is giving us two commands to follow but they are actually one in the same. We love God by loving others. Jesus is teaching us that people, and caring for them, is more important than anything else we do. In fact, showing kindness and caring for others is an act of worship.
My husband has always understood this. He says life is all about relationships. I guess that would explain why he is such a big fan of "The Andy Griffith Show." Like my husband, Andy is great at relationships.
As the Sheriff of Mayberry, Andy is loved and revered by his family and friends. That's because his motto in life is "Love thy neighbor." Episode after episode, this principle is seen most in his relationship with his deputy, Barney Fife.
While Andy is tall, strong and wise, Barney is small, thin, and afraid of his own shadow. At times, he could be considered the town's joke - if it weren't for Andy. While others love to make fun of Barney's ill attempts to protect the town, Andy, on the other hand, always stands by Barney, protecting his pride and dignity. No matter how bad Barney messes up, in the end, Andy twists things around so that Barney appears to be the hero - even if it means taking the blame himself. Andy, indeed, is a good example of "loving others as you would love yourself."
I'm sure that you love your neighbors as well. Perhaps you pick up your neighbor's mail, water their flowers, feed their pet, and mow their yard while they are away on vacation. That's all good, but how do you love the neighbor on the outskirts of town, the person you meet in the grocery store, at Wal-Mart, or the beggar on the side of the street? Showing compassion for others is more important than anything we acquire or any position or title we may hold.
I heard a true story about a man who was a great admirer of Mother Teresa and her work. While visiting her country, the man had high hopes of meeting her. Time after time, he would visit the places where she often went to minister to the people, but he never saw her.
On his last day of his trip, while worshiping in the local church, the man, to his amazement, found himself in the presence of Mother Teresa who was attending services as well. He could hardly believe it! The man excitedly began pointing and whispering about Mother Teresa to those around him. Quietly, Mother Teresa stepped out of her pew and escorted the man outside into the poverty stricken streets.
Without saying a word, she led the man to an alley where the walls where lined with old boxes, junk and smelly trash. She told the man to push aside the rubble. Obeying her command, he began to remove the fragments of garbage one piece at a time. Lying under the rubbish, and to his surprise, was a naked, frail, old man. He stood there speechless. Then, he heard Mother Teresa say to him the four most powerful words he had ever heard...
"Behold the body of Christ."
In one short sentence, Mother Teresa echoed the words of Christ spoken long ago, and yet, still relevant today.
"For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me. Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'" (Matthew 25: 35-40, NKJ)
Loving others is how we love and worship our God, who is the author, creator, and meaning of true worship. The next time you see a person in need, don't shrug it off. Instead, "Behold the body of Christ."
My Prayer for Today:
Dear Lord, today I present myself to you as a living sacrifice - not to do as I please but to please you by loving others. Help me to be a blessing to someone today. Amen.
Push back the rubble in your life today and see who needs to be loved, cared for, or encouraged. Then take advantage of the moment.
Do you need to reorganize your priorities so that you have time to care for others?
How can you show kindness to your neighbor today?
How can you be a blessing in your family, at work or in your community?
Where do you spend most of your time and money?
Is there a charity that God is leading you to support? Will you begin supporting it today?
"And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise." Luke 6:31 (NKJ)
"Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward." Matthew 6:2 (NKJ)
"For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you." John 13:15 (NKJ)
"And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you." 1 Thessalonians 3:12 (NKJ)
"If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself,' you do well." James 2:8 (NKJ)
New! Message of the Month Club by Proverbs 31 Ministries
Living Life on Purpose by Lysa Terkeurst
A Woman's Secret to a Balanced Life by Lysa Terkeurst and Sharon Jaynes
How to Have Healthy Relationships Tape Set by Mary Southerland
Originally published Tuesday, 01 February 2005.