Christ in my neighbor
I ran across this quote from a sermon Martin Luther preached in 1543: “The inn was full . . . There are many of you who think to yourselves: If only I had been there! How quick I would have been to help the baby! Why don’t you do it now? You have Christ in your neighbor. You ought to serve your neighbor, for what you do to your neighbor in need you do to the Lord Christ himself.”
Jesus once made a similar point: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40). One of our prayers summarizes the thought this way: “In the hurting eyes of the lonely, in the pained eyes of the sick, and in the searching eyes of the lost, help us to see your face, O Jesus, and to serve others as we would serve you.”
We serve Jesus because he so lovingly served us by laying down his life to save us. We serve our neighbor to say thank you to Jesus for his incredible sacrifice. When we help a neighbor in need, it is the same as serving Jesus himself. What a lovely thought!
One way to serve Christ in your neighbor is by supporting WELS Christian Aid and Relief’s humanitarian aid projects. These help our home and world missionaries meet community needs and build relationships that lead to many opportunities to share the good news of Jesus.
One missionary, who oversees much of our humanitarian work in South Asia, has this to say about the importance of these efforts: “In the countries we serve the population is only one percent Christian. Christians are a persecuted minority. There are many stereotypes about Christians. When we show the love of Christ in acts of charity, people take notice. They begin to doubt the prejudices they have held against Christians. The door to their minds is opened. This creates an opportunity to share the gospel with them. It is impossible to describe the impact the unconditional love of Christ makes on the mind and heart of a Muslim, Hindu, or Buddhist. The Holy Spirit uses the beautiful truth of the gospel to lead them into the kingdom of God. Despite severe persecution, we have explosive growth where we conduct these humanitarian aid projects.”
Your gifts have enabled similar humanitarian aid projects such as these:
- School supplies and backpacks for underprivileged children in Colorado
- Medical equipment and supplies in Africa and Asia
- Drilling boreholes (wells) to supply clean water in Zambia
- Technology and vocational training for the poor in Asia
- Mosquito nets in areas where malaria is a danger
- Warm clothes for widows and orphans
- Food and other support for the poor in Africa, Asia, and Europe
Would you consider making a special offering today to fund humanitarian aid projects for the 2023-2024 fiscal year? In this way you will serve Jesus by serving your neighbor —all to the glory of God alone!
In Christ, our compassionate Savior,
Pastor Dan Sims
Director, WELS Christian Aid and Relief
Prayer: Lord Jesus, you demonstrated compassion for us during your time on earth—resolving people’s physical problems while solving their much bigger spiritual problem. May we imitate you as we see the needs of hurting people around us and help them. We thank you for WELS Christian Aid and Relief’s coordination of disaster relief efforts and for moving so many people to give and volunteer in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian and other disasters. Use our love for others as a witness of your love for us and an opening to share the good news of your forgiveness and eternal life. Amen.