Imagine with me a group of Christians, banding together in covenant to love the Lord and love their neighbor. They wrestle with what it may look like to truly be the hands and feet of Jesus. Hours are spent cultivating a garden, wondering how this produce can benefit the community. They ponder at solutions as they witness the separation between the rich and poor in their community. They are convicted and stretched as they travail across the street to ask the homeless man to come over for dinner. To me, this looks a lot like the church in Acts.
This is the intentional Christian community the Owens family visited in Waco last weekend. The house is occupied by two couples, a toddler and a pastor. We went on from Waco to Dallas visiting another intentional community composed of a married couple and two single women. They reach out intentionally to the disabled community, and share a weekly meal with a diverse group of people. This time shared together with the house communities, and the extravagant hospitality we received, made me think.
What does it look like to truly be the hands and feet of Jesus in our community? It doesn’t take long to find injustice and need around us.
The lower income neighbor who has been taken advantage of by the rent to own business.
The single mom or disabled friend seeking to navigate the healthcare system.
The list could go on.
In Matthew 25 Jesus says whatever you did for the least of these you did for me, and he goes on to say whatever you did not do for the least of these you did not do for me. I must ask myself, what am I doing for the least of these? I am not saying that it is about what we do, because at the end of the day we are human beings, not human doings. Yet, as we love the Lord we are filled with his love in such a way that we spill God’s love onto others.
Community is a powerful tool to help be the body of Christ for the least of these, but that does not mean you have to move into intentional community like the ones we visited. Yet, it is too easy to dismiss the call of loving our neighbor as something that is “not my gifting.” It is difficult to love people that are different than us – extraordinarily hard. Yet, Biblically there is no other option.
So, how are you loving the least of these? How are you living life with the least of these? There can be a tendency to do things for people rather than living life with people. It is easy to serve soup, but harder to sit at the table and share a meal with those being served. What is the Lord putting on your heart? A great first step is to go meet your neighbors. Get to know them, hear their heart and their needs. Maybe we can start being the hands and feet of Jesus to our literal neighbor, and then slowly begin to stretch our comfort zones so that we can be the tangible hands and feet of Jesus extending to places we never would have dreamed.