There is a game that we used to play as children, dodge ball. It was usually the same child who had quick reactions and excellent eyesight that remained the unbeatable champion. But just when their overconfidence peaked and they entered the next game smiling with the facial expression of “you already know that I’m the winner,” the ball-thrower changed.
This was a new thrower with unknown skills but demonstrated that he or she could look in one direction and throw the ball in another direction. I remember when the reigning champion was the second person out of the game. We were silent from the shock for a quick minute, and then as children react, we started laughing and teasing the overconfident losing champion. Well, he became angry and walked away, filled with disbelief.
And then, a couple of players were show-offs and would catch the ball and toss it back to the thrower to showcase their skills. We decided to vote to make the rule that catching the ball would be considered an automatic out, which put an immediate stop to ball-catching.
But I would like to focus on the most amazing children in the game. They were the ones who would sacrifice for those of us who lacked the skills to dodge the ball, knowing that we would have been the first ones out. These good-hearted kids would intentionally jump in front of us and get hit with the ball so that we could play a few minutes longer.
Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:4
It makes me wonder, was the ability to put others first an innate characteristic, present at birth, or a learned behavior?
The children who willingly sacrificed have most likely matured into the servants of our societies. They are the ones who rescued the baby birds that had fallen from their nests, shared their school lunches, or helped to clean the house without being asked. Their love and compassion for others flowed like a waterfall that never stops.
Who are they now? They are the volunteers, the missionaries, the ministers, the essential workers, the philanthropists, and that one neighborhood mother and father who have an open-door for all, and most importantly, many are the disciples of Jesus Christ. The list of positions of servitude can go on and on.
We do know that society’s servants and the disciples of Christ share a common trait; they possess the characteristic of abundant love. They have caring and compassionate hearts, which causes them to seek out those who are broken from being hit too many times from the balls of hardships.
If individuals who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, are wholeheartedly committed to helping humanity, how much more as Believers should we be doing to alleviate suffering? But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 1 John 3:17. The answer is simple: we really do not love God.
Have you considered that if we were fulfilling our Divine purpose of spreading the message of Jesus Christ (The Great Commission, Matthew 28) and sharing our time and money that our societal problems would not have escalated to epidemic proportions? Not only would the hopeless have hope through the salvation of Jesus, the conditions of poverty, homelessness, and disease transmission would be under control. And just maybe, by now, we would be living in the perfect and sinless New Heaven and New Earth.
There is a song that has the lyrics, “If I can help somebody along the way then my living will not be in vain.”
And Jesus tells us in Matthew 25:35-40 NIV,
35 ‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'” 40 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.'”
Saints of God, we have been commissioned to make disciples and help those in need. But, first and foremost, we must obey the greatest commandment: 36 “Teacher, which commandment is the greatest in the Law?” 37, Jesus declared, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:36-39
Oh, friend, do you love Jesus? Because when we love God, and Jesus Christ, His Son, we possess the abundant love and compassion that flows like the great Niagara Falls.
In this season of lockdowns, shelter-in-place, social distancing, and facemasks, renew your relationship with God and return to your first love. Commit to helping some one in need, use social media for witnessing by posting encouraging scriptures, and use your financial resources to support the many community churches that need money because they are alleviating others’ suffering. Do not give to prosperity seeking non-profit organizations or because you seek a taxable deduction to offset projected tax liabilities owed to the government. Give to those who are fulfilling the scriptures to love God, and to love others.
Pray and ask God to reveal your Divine purpose as you prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord.’ Matthew 25:23
Bible Reading: Matthew 25
God, we ask for forgiveness for not caring about the suffering of those in need. Please reveal to us your divine purpose for our lives. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.
© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the written permission of the author.