Jesus taught us that whatever we do to the least of his brethren, we also do to him. That concept is something I’ve been thinking about lately. In Matthew Chapter 25, Jesus mentions this both in the positive and in the negative. First, he mentions that when we do good to others, it is as though we are doing good to him. Next, he tells us that when we neglect others, we are also neglecting him.
How often have we read these passages without really thinking it through—without letting the magnitude of these words sink in: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me… Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.”
These are powerful statements that should make us stop and think about the way we are treating people. Every time we ignore the poor, lash out in anger, fail to give necessary attention to someone who is suffering or dependent on us, and even every time we put our needs ahead of others, we are not just failing to care for people around us—it is as though we are doing these things to Jesus himself.
I don’t know about you, but that hits really close to home for me. There are things I struggle with that not only chip away at my peace, they cause me to lash out at others at times when I feel overwhelmed or overtired. Sometimes I don’t always take care of my home as well as I should. Sometimes I don’t prioritize things appropriately, so necessary things slip through the cracks. As a work at home mom, there are days when there just is not enough of me to go around, and because of chronic pain and other health issues, there are times when I just want to stop and think about me for change. Then I feel guilty. Where is the balance here?
On one hand, I know that I should do all things as if I’m doing them for the Lord. So, that means keeping my home as if it’s the Lord’s home, raising my children as if they are the Lord’s children, providing the best quality work for my clients as if I’m working for Jesus, love my husband as I love Christ, be a friend to those in distress, reach out to the needy, and so on. But, what do you do when there is no one to take care of you? What do you do when there just is not enough time in the day to do all things as well as you’d like to?
In this, as with many things in life, I think it’s about finding a proper balance. At least for starters. How many things do I do in a typical day that are time-sinks? What can I do to be more efficient and organized? What can I do to take better care of my body so that I have the energy I need to keep up with my busy life? What can I do to recognize when I’m becoming overwhelmed and find a reasonable solution that does not involve losing my temper? Finding the right balance between motherhood, work, being a wife, sister, daughter, friend, and making time for bible study and my ministry work is something I am going to have to get under control. Otherwise, I will not be doing anyone much good, much less the Lord.
Then I think, you know what the real answer is? Faith. Sure, I am responsible for doing all that is in my power to the best of my God-given ability. But, when my ability is not enough, my faith is what will get me through. I know that the Lord will provide me with everything I need in order to serve and glorify him—because he placed this desire in my heart for a reason. We are told that he will give us our heart’s desire, and how much more when our greatest desires are to be pleasing to God and effective for His kingdom?
It might be time for me to slow down for a short time and consider these things so that I can get my own home in better order (both in this world and my spiritual house). Even so, I cannot allow anything to deter me from the work the Lord has placed before me to do. So, instead of retreating (as I tend to do), I’m going to push forward with faith and with a God-given determination to do better tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. Every day is the “day of salvation,” and every day we are growing up into the children of God. If I want to be of use in the kingdom to come, I should expect to be pushed to my limits while serving God in his kingdom that is “at hand.”
All of us will go through hard times that push us to the brink, and these things make us stronger as long as we continue in the faith of Jesus. He will get us through everything he places before us so that his name is honored. Whatever measure of suffering we do for his namesake is a blessing, so that’s something to keep in mind too.
This post was kind of like a train going way off the rails, so let’s see if I can bring this back around to the original thought.
Whatever we do, we do as if we are doing so unto Jesus. So, that means we do our very best in love and selflessness. It also means that when we feel as though we don’t have what it takes, whatever the case might be for us, we should strive to continue in the faith that Jesus will make a way for us to do all things that are pleasing to him. Giving into things like anxiety, depression, anger, or other such emotions will not help us, and in Jesus, we are promised freedom from such self-destructive chains. We also remember that when we feel as though “there is none to help,” Jesus felt that first, and he is always with us.