Week 6 - Honoring Jesus by Serving Others
Honoring Jesus by serving others
By Edgar Stoesz
“Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you … for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me. … Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” — Matthew 25:34-36, 40, NRSV
Just a few days from now, the Habitat network will join with Christians everywhere on Easter morning by greeting each other with these words: “Christ the Lord is risen,” followed by the joyous and resolute reply, “He is risen, indeed.”
We are numbered among the followers, the imitators, of this Jesus who asks us to love the Lord our God and our neighbor as ourselves. While here on Earth, Jesus paused repeatedly to minister to the physical and spiritual needs of people he encountered. To his amazed disciples he said, “Whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these” (John 14:12, NIV).
This is the foundation on which Habitat was built. In its simplest and best form, Habitat is a microcosm of the life and teachings of Jesus. Through Habitat and like ministries, the Word becomes flesh and dwells among us as described in John 1:14.
That is what moved Clarence Jordan when he saw the hovels in which his sharecropping neighbors were living. It motivated him to devise a plan as bold as it was unorthodox — to build houses not for but with people. So he attracted a cross section of like-minded people, including Millard and Linda Fuller, to be a part of this movement. Soon they were joined by former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, and ultimately millions of others who were united around the goal of demonstrating the love of Jesus by helping those in need of adequate shelter. The momentum could not be contained, and the work of Habitat spread around the world.
Lord, we pause to thank You for entering into our world with a life-changing message. We are reminded that when we provide shelter for Your children, we are honoring You. We ask humbly that You receive our offering and multiply it as You did with the loaves and the fish, so that many may have the shelter they need and deserve. Make us aware always that You are among us as we seek to render this service in Your name. Amen.
As you work with families in need of shelter, do you think of it as fulfilling the commands of Jesus to love your neighbor?
What specific things will you commit to do during this Lenten season and beyond to honor Jesus by serving others? (See the “Forty positive actions for Lent” below.)
Ponder these words of St. Francis of Assisi: “For it is in giving that we receive.” How have you experienced that?
As you work with those who will soon become homeowners, how do you demonstrate a Christian spirit of humility that builds dignity and self-respect?
Edgar Stoesz is a former member and chair of the board of directors of Habitat for Humanity International.
Forty positive actions for Lent
Rather than emphasizing what you will “give up” for Lent, focus on positive actions you can take to demonstrate the extraordinary love of Jesus.