Thursday, December 10, 2009



Living in Newport Beach, California, a place I have dubbed the "holy coast" area of the United States, it's easy to forget how needy some people really are. We live in such gorgeous surroundings, one of the most beautiful parts of the world. From the very first day we moved here it was clear that we had to make it our goal to expose our children to other parts of the world-to give them a wider perspective on the rest of the world. In other words, it was important to communicate to them that this is not how it is all over the world. So, we did our best to expose our kids to as many other cultures as possible as they grew up in paradise. This not only taught them that there are lots of needy people around the world, but it also gave them a sense of gratefulness that they possess today.

Over the years the many travels to see how the rest of the world lives have also taught us to look around, even in paradise, for the needy right here at home. Although the needs around the world are much more intense than they are here, there are so many real needs here in Orange County and growing by the day in this economic scene. Locally we do all we can do to support the Orange County Food Bank, one of the finest charities ever!

Every month we also feed the homeless who gather at a local church facility. It's a different kind of serving. There are no food lines. The people gather, are seated and then they are served a wonderful meal. We sing together, celebrate any birthdays and I share something about Jesus and His teachings with them. The rewards of serving the homeless in this way are enormous. This brings me to SECRET #67: The follower of Jesus shares the message of the Master by meeting the needs of the needy.

You see, when you do your best to meet the needs of the needy, you are doing something that is at the heart and core of Jesus and His message to the world. This act of service will have a most definite impact on the world; it will demonstrate Jesus to the world. Jesus taught this when He said: "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 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.' 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, '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)

Here the sacrificial love message of Jesus is spread by being aware of Jesus' heart and that Jesus can be found in those in need in our world-the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the stranger, the sick, and those in prison. Jesus also spoke directly to those who didn't notice Jesus in the midst of the needy. "He will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'" When we are aware of the poor and needy around us, we are demonstrating the heart of Jesus in our world. Jesus always sought them out and so should we. And when we do, the attractiveness of the sacrificial love of Jesus shines through.

NOTE two things here: FIRST-Those in need are at the heart of God-hungry, thirsty, a stranger, naked, sick and imprisoned. Human nature is to take care of those who can do something for us. Therefore, we look to treat those who are important from an earthly perspective-the athlete, the musician, the highly positioned person in society. BUT Jesus points us in another direction entirely!

SECOND-Ministering to the needy is in fact ministering to Jesus, Himself. So, if you want to find and interact with Jesus, He is right there in the midst of those in need.

Do you want to see Jesus? Serve those in need in your world. And, when you serve the needy, the love message of Jesus will shine through. This is SECRET #67: The follower of Jesus shares the message of the Master by meeting the needs of the needy.