James 2:14-16 asks, “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?”
We must never lose focus of the spiritual depravity of man. Jesus Himself said to the woman at the well, “If you knew the gift of God and Who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.”
James understood that planting Gospel seeds often followed meeting physical needs. Our intentions are good and we ache for lost souls, but sometimes in our zeal to share the Gospel, we overlook the physical needs that hinder the discovery of the Living Water. Before we can share, people often need to know we care.
Southern Baptists recognize that as Christians, we are called to be the hands and feet of Christ. We see this through our Disaster Relief Teams, World Changers, Campers on Mission, the World Hunger Fund and now through Baptist Global Response. Our motivation is pure and simple. We serve because we love people. We serve because in doing so, we are serving the Lord Himself.
When we serve the least of these by meeting real and practical needs, the words of Matthew 25:37-40 come alive. “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, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for Me.'”
There are huge opportunities to share Christ by meeting the physical needs of those around us. While we may struggle for the just right words for presenting the Gospel, we must never forget that our actions have great potential for cultivating the soil of a hardened heart that might otherwise never be open to the Gospel seed.
Galatians 6:9 serves us well in our endeavors to reach the lost. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Look around you. What circumstances has God placed before you and your church? Is God calling on you and your church to meet the needs of those in your community, state, nation and world? When you do, your faith will never be more alive.
Random acts of kindness have been known to bring more than one lost soul to the King. May every Oklahoma Baptist be found serving unto the least of these, and may every Southern Baptist church be known for bringing the presence of Christ into every community.