SERVING THE LEAST OF THESE BROTHERS . . .
During His ministry, Jesus spent time telling His followers about the Kingdom of Heaven. One illustration He used is that of a righteous man who is surprised by his inheritance. The King blesses the man because, “. . . 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” (Matt. 25:36). But the righteous man has no knowledge of ever doing these things, to which the King replies, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matt. 25:40).
Often we have no idea of the impact that our acts of kindness will have in the Kingdom of God. When we finally stand before the King, like the righteous man in Jesus’ story, we will be surprised to learn how far a single act of service rippled out into the lives of people we never met. This was made clear to me when a friend in the Philippines told me the story of how God used the members of a local Christian and Missionary Alliance church to minister to him.
In 1989, Pastor Ronald was ministering in a heavily Muslim populated area in the Philippines. He had almost no financial support and struggled to get by through odd jobs. After a month in which Pastor Ron had no work, his one-year-old son, Ron, came down with a severe case of bronchitis. Without any money for medication or doctors, Ronald did the best he could and gave his son herbs, but it didn’t help. Ronald and his wife watched helplessly as their baby’s health worsened. They were sure that little Ron was going to die.
Without any sleep for days, Ronald became too exhausted and worried about his son to preach or lead his Bible study. His ministry slowly died. Finally, early one morning, racked with guilt because they could not care for their son, Ronald and his wife pleaded with God to save their son.
Several hours later, they fell into a deep sleep. It was the first sleep that they had had in days. Later that afternoon, they woke up to find little Ron out of bed playing on the cement floor of their home. While he was not totally healed, the immediate crisis had passed, and they praised God.
But God was not finished, and their baby still needed help. That same day, several people from a local C&MA church were in the neighborhood distributing tracts and inviting people to church and stopped at Ronald’s home. When they saw Ronald’s son, they immediately realized that he needed medical care.
Ronald explained that he could not afford a doctor. The church members understood that God had more for them to do than pass out tracts, and in an act of Christian kindness and mercy, they took Ronald and his son to the hospital. Ultimately, the church paid all the medical expenses for little Ron, and he recovered. God had performed a miracle overnight and then sent in His troops to finish the job.
No longer consumed with worry about his son, Ronald returned to full-time ministry, preaching the gospel and leading a home Bible study. Soon 15 people accepted Christ and were baptized.
It wasn’t long before God called Ronald to lead a church in another part of the Philippines. As Ronald shared this story with me, he said he never again saw the people who came to his house that day, but he has never forgotten their kindness. He knows they were sent by the Lord to minister to his family.
I couldn’t help but think that when they come before the King they will be pleasantly surprised when they are introduced to the 15 people who entered the Kingdom in the weeks following their service. It will be a time of great joy.