As followers of Jesus, it can be very easy for us to focus on answering the question "What must I do to make & keep things right between God & me?" If we aren't careful our relationship with God can really be all about us and what we benefit from it.
Jesus challenged this self-spirituality all the time. In Matthew 25, we read of one particular instance when Jesus was referring to the last days, particularly about who will inherit eternal life in God's Kingdom. His point through this example is that serving God means loving our neighbors. Those who...
- Feed the hungry
- Care for the thirsty, sick & stranger
- Cloth the naked
- Visit those in prison
When you love & serve those neighbors, it is as if you are actually serving God. Following Jesus is an invitation to leave what's all about you and embrace the neighbor beside you. Your devotion to God is illustrated, demonstrated, and authenticated by your love for your neighbors. We are to care for others' sake - just like Jesus came for others' sake.
Andy Stanley, a pastor in Georgia, has a great question to help us determine if we are simply embracing ourselves or really loving our neighbor "What does love require of me?" Thinking about perfect love, how would someone with perfect love respond to that neighbor? Following Jesus is not only for your benefit, but the benefit of your neighbor.
As a way to practice loving our neighbors, we have an opportunity to serve with West Valley Community Services. On Saturday, November 19th from 9am-12noon, we will help clean their food pantry that serves many local people everyday. To ensure we have enough participation, please register by Thursday, November 17. This is a great opportunity to partner with a local organization who does some amazing work in our community!