You Have To Look Past The Face

If we could only remember that all we do to our brothers and sisters, or the sick and hurting, or even to little children, we are literally doing to Christ.  If we really believed this it would radically change how we relate to others.

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’  (Matthew 25:35-40)

Whatever we do to the least of these…you did it to me.

When we bear with the most difficult Christian, we do it to Christ. When we comfort a friend who’s depressed, we’re do it to Jesus.  When we bless our spouse or children, we literally blessing Jesus.  When we care for a little one in Children’s Ministry, we care for Christ.  When we make a meal for a mom who’s just had a baby, we make a meal for Christ.  When we sponsor a child or give to the poor through Covenant Mercies, World Vision or Samaritan’s purse we feed and clothe Jesus.  When we take an interest in that immature brother who never takes an interest in us, we do it to Christ.

Conversely, when we slander our brother, we do it to Jesus. When we’re impatient with that sister, we’re impatient toward Christ.  When we’re selfish with our family, we’re selfish toward Christ.  When we avoid talking with that brother because he irritates us, we avoid Christ.

We have to look past the surface.
We have to look past the face of our friend, our spouse, or that annoying brother to see Jesus.  We have to look past that snotty-nosed 3-year old to see Jesus.  It’s not JUST Bill or Tom or Jessica, it’s not JUST that poor guy who doesn’t smell good – it’s JESUS.

I’m preaching to myself here.  How often have I neglected to do good to Christ because I just didn’t want to have to listen to that brother’s problems or visit that sister in the hospital?  How often have I missed opportunities to bless Christ by failing to bless my wife?  How much of my life has been consumed with providing for my own comfort and pleasures compared with how to care for the poor?

I’m not condemned by my failures, because Christ took my condemnation on the cross.  Yet I want the reality of this Scripture to stir me to love and good deeds: ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’  And I want to hear Jesus say that to me someday.

So look past the face and do something good to Jesus today.

photo by fleecircus

  • Caroline

    Thank you the post! very timely as usual…. and convicting.

    • MarkAltrogge

      Thanks Caroline!

  • Blaine

    Ouch. And thank you.

    • MarkAltrogge

      Sure, Blaine – thank you!

  • ann

    Thank you for sharing this. It is all so true. No wonder we experience so much joy, a joy like no other when we get to share in seeing God work in other lives and when we get to use our past sin to help others. I cant believe God gives me an opportunity to use my debauchery of the past for His good and glory!

    • Mark Altrogge

      Yes Ann, isn’t God good!

  • amysioux

    I have noticed that when I practice even the littlest of kindnesses, people light up like a candle: In the grocery store line, at work, on the hiking trail, in the row behind me at church… Even a smile and a kind word to a grumpy face goes a long way.

    This is good. Very good. Because it takes that SO much further. I think I'll print it and tuck into my business planner. Maybe we should all tuck it into our Sunday bulletins.

    Thank you.

    • Mark Altrogge

      You're so right, Amy. I have experienced the same thing – a smile, a kind word, etc will often cause others to "light up." And as believers we should try to be light in the world for the glory of Jesus. Thanks for adding your comments!

  • lisa

    Thanks, Mark, for this convicting and encouraging post.

    • MarkAltrogge

      Thanks Lisa.