…an integral part of what it means to live a Christ-centered life…
At Grace Church of Philly we do not view ministry to the poor, disadvantaged, and homeless as a special type of activity that only some Christians are engaged in; we view this type of ministry as something that is an integral part of what it means to live a Christ-centered life.
Just as God (as an expression of His very character) has graciously and generously poured out His love into our hearts through the gift of the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5), Christians also (as an expression of the new life and character given to them by faith in Christ) should naturally be engaged in pouring out this divine love into the lives of those around us. Hence, mercy ministries are not something that Christ-followers necessarily do; it is merely the natural expression of who they are in Christ Jesus. We do not serve to the poor and downtrodden out of obligation or as a form of religious expression; we do so out of love. We do not look down upon those who have been less fortunate than ourselves in this life; we reach out our hands in the power of God’s love to lift them up. We do not draw attention to ourselves during these times of service; instead, we are always pointing others to the ultimate source of comfort, mercy, and grace: the person of Jesus Christ. We do not minister in this way expecting to get anything in return; we serve because we cannot do otherwise in Christ. God’s love in Christ constrains and compels us to pour out the light and love He has given to us into the lives of those around us who need it the most.
Matthew 25:31-40 (ESV) – “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 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.'”
Luke 10:25-37 (ESV) – And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” 29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among te robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”
Galatians 6:9 (ESV) – And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.