I think becoming the hands and feet of Jesus can be one of the hardest things we ever try to do. It sounds easy enough - but is it really?
Let's consider which choice would be the easy choice in the hypothetical situations below:
- a mean girl in high school is bullying your child - do we talk badly about that girl to our children, and demean her importance as a result of her actions, or do we pray with our child and ask for God to intervene, showing my child how He cares about the daily situations in our lives?
- we see a homeless person on the side of the road with a cardboard sign displaying his hand written words "need food" - do we look the other way, assuming he will buy drugs or alcohol with the money we might give them, or give them something knowing that God is glorified through our obedience to Him, regardless of that person's decisions.
- someone we know is disabled and unable to drive - do we take some time to offer to help them run errands, or do we convince ourselves that we are simply too busy for that, and that someone else will probably be there to help them anyway?
- a friend is having financial problems and living on meager earnings - do we offer to bring them meals or help with their bills, or justify that we need to save our money because times are tough for everyone.
- a rude sales clerk treats you as if you were the last person on earth she wanted to help during her work day - do we respond in the same rude way, telling her what she deserves to hear and possibly reporting her to management, or do we smile and respond in kindness, acknowledging her hard work and wishing her a nice evening.
- a co-worker gets the job promotion that you know you deserved - do we scorn them and their success, making sure everyone knows the decision was not fair, or do you congratulate your co-worker, and ask God to guide your paths, opening up the doors that He desires for you to walk through.
So many opportunities - each and every day - present themselves to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Not just big things, but little things too. And with each opportunity, we are faced with a choice. A choice between taking the easy road out, the road that feels good and satisfies our own needs and self centered thoughts, or stepping up to the plate and being willing to act on God's behalf for the people who God put into our path.
As I mentioned in today's Proverbs 31 devotion, being the hands and feet of Jesus may sometimes require sacrifice. The sacrificial offer of her husband's life, that the elderly so freely offered, is still a gift, and a mindset, that honestly, I have a very hard time comprehending. I can only hope to have such a strong faith and selfless disposition one day, that I would not only have such Christ centered thoughts, but that I would be willing to act on them, without a moments hesitation.
Matthew 7:21-23 says, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."
This verse above is one of many which portrays the importance God places on doing His will, and His will includes loving our "neighbors" enough to be His hands and feet. In fact, I find it so amazingly interesting, that in Mark 12:28-31, one of the teachers asked Jesus which of all of His commandments were most important, and Jesus said 1) to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind, and 2) to love your neighbor as yourself.
Being the hands and feet of Jesus comes second to loving God with all your heart, soul and mind - which makes it crystal clear to us about how He prioritizes doing His work.
I have always loved this poem, written by Edgar Guest:
I’d rather see a sermon
than hear one any day
I’d rather one should walk with me
than merely tell the way.
The eye’s a better pupil and more willing
than the ear,
Fine counsel is confusing
but example’s always clear;
And the best of all the preachers
are those who live their creeds,
For to see good put in action
is what everybody needs.
Starting today, do something to further the Kingdom of God. Tell others about Jesus. Share your faith. Share your stories of how Jesus has worked in your life. Help someone in need. Reach out to someone who has not been kind to you. Encourage and pray for those who are suffering. Share the gifts that God has given you, whether tangible or intangible, with the people whom God connects you with.
True Christianity is not just a label we wear, it is a lifestyle we live.
If we all began to be the Hands and Feet of Jesus every day, in our own homes, neighborhoods, communities, states, nations, and even internationally, I can only imagine what a wonderful world this could be.