Engaging the Lost: Jesus’ Way

Daily Devotion | Day 276

“Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost” (Matthew 18:10-11, NKJV).

Jesus is salvation-minded. He wants His followers to have the same mind. To be salvation-minded means to desire and to work for the salvation of souls. An authentic disciple of Christ is one who possesses the same mindset as Christ. Part of this mindset is the attitude we adopt toward those who are yet to be saved. In today’s Scripture, Jesus warns us to be careful how we treat those we think are lost.

Specifically, Jesus calls us to avoid treating the lost with contempt. This is important. When we gain knowledge of God, there’s a temptation to look down on those who aren’t like us. This originates from pride or arrogance. But the ultimate root of this attitude is immaturity and a lack of Christ-mindedness. A true disciple of Christ will treat people how the Savior will treat them. When you treat people with contempt because they’re not saved or because they’re not like you, you discredit your own calling as an ambassador for Christ.

In Matthew 18:10-11, Jesus gives us two reasons we should avoid despising the lost. First, He says these people have angels in heaven who always see the face of the heavenly Father. This means they are important to God, even if their salvation status looks questionable. If God has assigned angels to them, that should tell us that they are valuable in God’s sight. Whoever is important to God should be important to us also. If we treat these people with contempt, we not only offend God, we also offend the angels assigned to them. The last thing we want is to stand before God one day and be required to explain why we treated people with contempt.

Second, Jesus says He has come to save that which was lost. Jesus has a heart for the lost. His mission and passion is to save them. When you despise these people, you’re indirectly despising Jesus who wants to save them. You don’t want to interfere with the Savior’s mission.

If you’re saved, be thankful and pray that others will come to salvation. Remember that it is by grace that you are in Christ, not because you are the most awesome person who ever lived. Let humility guide you. Treat all with kindness and respect. Don’t ridicule people who you think are lost. Respect Jesus who shed His blood for them, and respect their angels, too.

BlessingMay the Lord use you as an instrument to give people the knowledge of salvation. Amen.

For further studyRomans 11:11-36

Helping the Poor, Lending to God

Daily Devotion|Day 244

“He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again” (Proverbs 19:17, KJV).

Compassion is the character of God. It is the character that He expects from all people, especially we who are the redeemed of the Lord. In His sermon on the mount, Jesus taught, “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7). Then in Luke 6:36, Jesus had this to say to His disciples, “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.”

You will understand the Christian life better when you understand that your whole purpose in life is to be like your Father in heaven. This is your fundamental witness to the world. Once you get this, God’s commandments and instructions will make sense to you. Speaking to his children, the Father said, “Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy” (Leviticus 19:2). What the Father is, the children must be also.

What we’ve said so far is in relation to today’s opening passage from Proverbs 19:17. God cares for all people, but He reserves special care for the vulnerable and marginalized. Such people are dear to God. In Scripture, you will notice that God has strong words for those who oppress or ignore the poor. Likewise, He has high praise and great reward for those who take care of the poor (see, for example, Proverbs 14:31; 1 Corinthians 11:22; James 2:5-6).

Today’s Scripture says that those who have pity upon the poor lend to God. Yes, if you show compassion to the poor, God takes is personal. He takes it that He ‘owes’ you for doing that. And the Bible adds that whatever you give to the poor, the Lord shall pay you back. When you show compassion to the poor, you are behaving like your Father in heaven. It makes Him proud to have a child like you. God is pleased when His children manifest His character.

Therefore, when you get an opportunity to reach out to the poor, rejoice, because great is your reward in the Father’s presence. Every chance you get to show the Father’s character is a golden opportunity. Seize it, and make the most of it. Your good deeds do not go unnoticed. God will be in your debt. And, blessed are you if God is in your debt.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be upon you in abundance. Amen.

For further study: Psalm 41:1-3

Displaying the Goodness of the Father

Daily Devotional: Day 159

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:9-10, NKJV).

We often say, “God is good, all the time. And all the time, God is good.” This is true. Naturally, it follows that, as children of God, we are by association, called to display the goodness of God. While in this world, Jesus taught us by word and example the character of the Father. As followers of Jesus, this is our calling, too: to display the goodness of the Father. In Matthew 5:16, for example, Jesus commands us, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (emphasis added). It doesn’t get clearer than that. Jesus wants us to do good works for people to see that they may glorify our Father in heaven. All glory goes to the Father, not to us; but it’s important that our good deeds are open for all to see. We are in this world to display – through our good works – how good God is.

Toward the end of his Letter to the Galatians, Paul urged the believers to persevere in doing good. Why? Because whatever we sow, we shall reap. If we sow goodness, we shall reap goodness. Whatever we sow shall return to us. Therefore, let’s be careful what we’re sowing in this life. Paul continues to say that while we have opportunity, we should do good to all, especially our brothers and sisters in the Lord. Notice that God wants us to do good to all people, not some people. But the Bible emphasizes that we should remember especially those who are of the household of faith. As members of God’s family, displaying the goodness of God starts with how we treat each other.

When you see an opportunity to do good, remember that it’s an opportunity for you to show the character of your Father in heaven. Don’t hesitate. And don’t make excuses. If you avoid an opportunity to do good, you’re avoiding God’s blessing. Don’t look for reasons or excuses to avoid doing good. Rather, look for reasons to do good. This is your divine mandate. Consider it a great honor to be given the opportunity to display in this world the character of the good Father. Make your Father proud.

The peace of God be upon you and all that belong to you. Amen.

For further study: Ephesians 2:1-10