SEPTEMBER 8, 2014
Other People Might Think I'm Crazy
"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.'" Matthew 25:40 (NIV)
It was a record-setting day, with the temperature reaching three digits. I was on the verge of whining when I saw a frail, exhausted and obviously pregnant woman at the edge of the busy highway, wearing long sleeves and pants that hung from her tiny body.
She was walking with her head down, despair evident in her posture. And despite my initial reaction to keep driving, my heart wouldn't listen.
I sensed God tugging at my heart to help her, but as my hands gripped the steering wheel, excuses gripped my mind. I'm already late to pick up my daughter up from practice. It's dangerous to pick up strangers on the side of the road. Other people might think I'm crazy if I stop to help. Someone else will help her.
But God's voice continued speaking to my heart, reminding me of the passage in Matthew 25:40: "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."
God's pull to turn around was stronger than my excuses to keep driving, so despite my hesitations, I did it anyway.
I made a U-turn, pulled up slowly beside her and asked if she needed help. She was hours from home and her car had run out of gas. The nearest station was five miles away, and she had no way to get to the gas, physically or financially. I realized both she and her unborn child were in danger lost — in every sense of the word.
The truth is, all too often I get busy with life and neglect to see those who may need a helping hand, a warm hug, a shoulder to cry on or a tank of gas. But if I really want to follow Jesus and make an earthly — and possibly eternal — difference in another person's life, I need to care for those Jesus called the "least of these."
This helpless woman was the "least of these" Jesus mentioned in Matthew 25:44-46. In this passage, Jesus told the crowd a story about a king to teach them the importance of caring for those the world dismissed.
Jesus explained when they cared for others, they were also caring for Him. Their actions to love the "least of these" were equivalent to serving the Savior. The faithful ones who showed compassion and exhibited a love for others were the ones to inherit His kingdom.
Unfortunately, society hasn't changed much. In fact, there are more lost and needy people in the world today than ever, and Jesus' instructions to love the least of these are as important today as they were then.
When we exhibit sacrificial empathy, tenderness, kindness and compassion, His light shines through as we extend to others the grace and mercy He's extended to us.
On this particularly hot day, I paused to help a young woman in need. It did seem like a risky decision; I was late in picking up my daughter. And when I had arrived at her practice with a total stranger in the passenger seat, some people did think I was a little crazy. But God's greater purpose is always worth the sacrifice.
How different might the world be today, if we allowed God's whispers to drown out opinions of naysayers, or voices in our minds telling us not to help those in need? Or when God calls us out of our comfort zones, if we'd put aside our inhibitions and commit to being His hands and feet?
After returning this sweet lady back to her car with a tank full of gas, she waved at me with a big, thankful smile and quietly uttered the words, "God bless you."
But in my heart, I knew He already had.
Lord, give me Your eyes to see those in need and Your heart to reach to out to them. Bless me with the ability to serve You by serving others. Help me develop a heart like Yours. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Philippians 2:3-4, "Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don't look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too." (NLT)
Proverbs 3:27, "Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it's in your power to help them." (NLT)
Your Life Still Counts: How God Uses Your Past to Create a Beautiful Future, Tracie Miles' new book, releases soon. Pre-order your copy here.
Need some encouragement to help you be ready to step out of your comfort zone when God nudges your heart? Sign up for Tracie's free 5-Day Faith Zone Challenge.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
When has God nudged you to reach out to someone, but you looked the other way?
Is there anyone in my life today who might need a helping hand? In what ways can I reach out to them?
© 2014 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Monday, 08 September 2014.