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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

(40 Days of Focus) Day 31: "Taking Care of Jesus"



Read: “The king will answer them, ‘I can guarantee this truth: Whatever you did for one of my brothers or sisters, no matter how unimportant {they seemed}, you did for me’” (Matthew 25:40, GW).
Think About It: “Lord, give me opportunity to see you face to face. My greatest desire is to love you and to love others like you love me.” And with the “amen” being spoken, that was the conclusion to her very heart-felt prayer before God. To love like Jesus…that was her prayer. Not many days after, she was working in the tranquility of her back-yard garden when she turned her attention to the sounds and smells of something that took her by surprise. When she stepped into the gap of the space in between where she was and the noise she had heard, she found that she had stepped into a lot more than she bargained. Before her were the two ugliest, smelliest, and loudest blue-tick hound dogs you ever did see! “The last think I want or need in my life are these two pitiful looking creatures!” she thought as she pondered her next careful steps around these dogs and the evidence of their presence that was being left. Suddenly, as though angels from Heaven had descended upon her, she remembered the prayer she had prayed only days before, “…help me to love others like you love me.” “Thanks, God.” She knew this was her moment and her responsibility to love like Jesus. She took the dogs in. She bathed them, she fed them, and she loved them. After several months, she found the dogs nowhere to be seen. They had been there and now they were gone. The lessons she learned in how to love like Jesus would be with her forever. Perhaps she had loved Jesus in the lives of these blue-tick hound dogs. 

Going Deeper: The last line of this passage in Matthew is an eye-opener.  “Whatever you did for one of my brothers or sisters…you did for me.”  Jesus erased the lines of separation between Himself and those who identified as being one with Him. “These brothers and sisters of mine” refer to a relationship, whether of national ancestry or of spiritual origin. He was not speaking about reaching out, but reaching in. For some reason, it appears to be much easier for people to extend themselves for a stranger, when it’s not as common for them to share that same courtesy, kindness, or generosity with those closest to them. The closer you are to people, the more you know them, and the easier it is to become cynical, critical, and disconnected. Jesus is calling His followers to adopt an everyday lifestyle of loving others as though loving Him. Treat people like you would treat Jesus.

Next Step: “Whatever you did for  one of my brothers or sisters…you did for me.” How does that strike you? Ask God, even in this moment, to open your eyes to see those around you who might be feeling like “the least of these.” Can you picture their face? How do you think Jesus would love them through whatever they’re facing? If it were Jesus that needed to be loved, what would that love look like coming from you? How can you apply that with those God will reveal to you? Love them like Jesus.

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