by pastor Katie Preston

Each of these devotional blogs entries is meant to be read on your own or if you have family or friends you live with, to be read together aloud. A suggestion  is to do this after you have dinner around the table together.  At the conclusion, please spend time in personal reflection or in sharing with one another your answers to the questions at the end. Be sure to conclude with prayer.

Read Matthew 25:31-46

“’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, 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.’

Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you whatever you did for one of the least of theses brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:35-40

            I love these verses. They are such a powerful reminder that we are to care for one another. Not only that but they are a reminder that we don’t know what effect our actions may have in the long run.

            When I was in High School I was fortunate enough to go on a Mission trip to Mexico to help build a house. Honestly, I was going because the “cool kids” were going. It was my chance to fit in. (I was a bit awkward growing up—ok, I still am.)  As we loaded up in the van for the long drive down, I was more and more excited, but I had no idea what would happen.

            Taking care of others turns your world upside down. What I mean is it changes everything. Sometimes it can be really difficult, but other times there is nothing more beautiful. That is exactly what happened to me on my first mission trip. God turned my world upside down. I had every intention of being a self-absorbed teen, but when I was faced with the needs of others and the joy of those who had so little, everything changed. Playing soccer with little kids on the street, seeing the joy in their faces over a simple game. Working on a 12×10 foot house, a home the size of my bedroom.  Through these things, I realized that although I was helping and spending time with these people, my heart was the one being changed.

            You see, it’s not that we always want to put others first, but we are called to put others first. When I think of all that Jesus has done for me and that He has asked me to take care of His people, that often gives me the strength that I need. He doesn’t ask us to serve others because He is demanding, instead, it’s so that we have an opportunity to experience that depth of love that places the needs of others above our own. We get to love one another because Jesus has shown us what real love looks like. We get to live in close relationship with God the Father because we have seen Jesus model what that relationship should look like. He has taken away those barriers. In the same way that Jesus’ life on earth showed compassion to others, we get to be part of the redemptive love of Jesus as we live this life here and now.

            So where is it that God is giving you an opportunity to show compassion? May I suggest you ask Him to show you where you might show compassion to others? Spend some time today remembering those who have shown you compassion and be ready for the opportunities God gives you.