The faces of Jesus

We are almost halfway through the year and a lot of the non-profit agencies and charities have started sending out emails to remind people on their mailing/donor lists to consider making a donation. One scripture that is a bedrock for a lot of Christian organizations is from Matthew 25.

When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? When did we see You sick or in prison and visit You?’ And the King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’

Matthew 25:38-40 BSB

All over the world, the faces of the poor, hungry, economically and sometimes socially disadvantaged have been used on fliers and infomercials to communicate this scripture very vividly. These faces represent Jesus’ mission of social justice on earth, His heartbeat for the world. This scripture gives us a glimpse into what Jesus looks like and who He is. This week I read a scripture that made me rethink how Jesus is represented here on earth:

…and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

Colossians 3: 10-11 NIV

Christ is all and in all. Wow. Sometimes it is easy to forget this, particularly in this “covid year” where the person next to you is perceived as a potential threat to your health or that of your loved ones. However, the pandemic has simply heightened and emphasized for me my deep-seated lack of connectedness to others. Although I have continued with my philanthropic work during the pandemic, God through this scripture is reminding me that His face is seen in more than hunger, poverty and homelessness which are the causes that are near and dear to my heart.

He is all and is in all. This includes that weed- smoking neighbour whom I have gone out of my way to avoid; that employee who has made it a point to be a thorn in my flesh; that Facebook friend whose social media posts I find slightly irritating; and even my kiddos who sometimes test the limit of the fruits of the Holy Spirit in me- Jesus is represented in all and is in all. So how is God calling me to respond to this? Well the answer is found in the rest of that scripture:

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with hearts of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with one another and forgive any complaint you may have against someone else. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which is the bond of perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, for to this you were called as members of one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Colossians 3: 12-17 NIV

‘Nuff said.

Yours Truly

On Mission for God

Have you ever had an earworm? Don’t worry its nothing gross! It is when you have a song or tune on repeat in your mind and for the past three weeks I have not been able to shake this song: “…But if we are the body, Why aren’t His arms reaching?…Why aren’t His hands healing?…Why aren’t His words teaching?…And if we are the body…Why aren’t His feet going?…Why is His love not showing them there is a way?” The sermons in church have not helped matters because for the past few weeks we have been discussing the up, in, and out dimensions of the relationships God calls us to and being on mission for God has come up many times.

There are so many ways to be on mission for God and in todays times one does not have to look far to find some injustice or cause in the world to be passionate about. Mine is food insecurity. Over the years, I have had personal experiences with being hungry and not having enough to eat and God always provided food in extraordinary ways. I vividly remember one of such experiences where I had been crying through the night because I had no money to pay my tuition and I had received notice from the university that my account was going to be blocked and my rent was also due. Granted I had not eaten but that was the least of my concerns that day. The next morning I received a text from someone I had met only two days prior who told me that that night she could not sleep. She said she had heard a voice through out the night telling her I was hungry (***goosebumps! I know!***). By the end of that day, my tiny apartment had been stocked with so much groceries and household supplies from this lady and this is just one of many of my stories of how God has provided for me when I was facing scarcity.

I believe while on earth, Jesus’ ministry was shrouded with a passion for connecting with and attending to issues of food insecurity. We see this in his miracles, his parables, and notable stories of his life involved food and gathering together to eat or made reference to food (e.g. In the house of Mary and Martha, Zacchaeus, the last supper, miracles involving turning water to wine, feeding people to mention a few). One of such notable passages is this one:

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 these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Matthew 25: 35-40 NIV

In the past few weeks this passage has become a driving force behind my passion to be on mission for God in the area of food insecurity. Despite the cliché of “the starving African children” you do not need to look as far as Africa to find food insecurity. There are people in every country who go to bed hungry and wake up without knowing where their next meal will come from. Poverty and its resultant food insecurity is a reality within every race and has been exacerbated by the global pandemic for those who experience it. So how can we be on mission with and for God seeing that he is equally as passionate about this need in the world?

Here is what I am doing: I am starting a community box in my neighbourhood that will be stocked with non-perishables for people to take as needed. I am not sure how this is going to play out. I have tried to talk myself out of it but the more I try, the more passionate I get so I have given up trying to talk myself out of it. I believe in this mission: as God did for me many years ago by supplying me with food even when I was too hungry to pray for food so do I want to do for others who might find themselves in similar situations. If you want to support this mission financially, I have added a donation link to this post so you can do so as you are led by God. But more importantly, I want you to pray for this “passion turned mission”. I have thought of the many ways this can go wrong and I am sure others will too. So pray that this mission will reach the right people who truly need it and that it will not fail.

My community pantry

This week I received an email and the opening line of it read “Imagine you had the ability to spread hope in your community…” (talk of serendipity!) and that is what I want to leave you with. Imagine you were on a mission for God, where would this mission take you? What cause has God laid on your heart to pursue? How has He called you to bring hope to the people in your sphere of influence? How can you be on mission for God?

Yours Truly.

P. S. here’s the link I mentioned: paypal.me/intentionalchristian and be sure to keep an eye out for updates on this project.