Hello beautiful sisters! I am so thankful for the opportunity to share my heart with y’all again. How wonderful the truth that we will spend eternity together in heaven, no matter what side of the world we currently find ourselves on.
The city I live in has 70,000 homeless people, the largest red-light district in all of Asia, and 1.4 million people living in slums. Most of the children I work with on a daily basis were introduced to drugs by age 5.
As I think about the importance of pursuing the hearts of people, not just their outward needs, I tend to get overwhelmed and confused. In my own human reasoning how am I supposed to minister to their heart when it seems as though their outward need is the most pressing issue? In situations like this I am so thankful that Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). We can look to Him as our perfect example because He is the exact representation of God’s nature (Hebrews 1:3).
So ladies, together, let us look to our King Jesus and see His words and acts.
There is no doubt that throughout the Gospels we see Jesus healing, helping, and caring about the external situations of those around Him. He is constantly having compassion on the poor, sick, and oppressed. He spends a lot of time changing their external situations. But, my question is, is this the main reason He came and lived on earth?
If our greatest need were merely physical then why did He have to die on the cross?
One of my favorite stories is about a few men who cared deeply for their paralyzed friend. They cared so much that they cut a hole in the roof and lowered their friend inside and laid him at the feet of Jesus. When Jesus saw this man and his friends, His first words were not about his physical condition, his first words addressed the man’s eternal heart condition. Having seen the faith of the paralyzed man’s friends, Jesus says,
“Friend, your sins are forgiven.”
These are the first words the paralyzed man hears.
It wasn’t until a few moments later Jesus says, “get up and walk.”
Can you imagine being the paralyzed man? You have been carried all this way to be healed of your physical disease and Jesus tells you that your sins are forgiven.
Can we be honest for a minute? If that were us, would we be satisfied with the healing of our sins apart from the healing of our bodies? I’m talking paralyzed! Think about it. This guy is not able to do anything but lie down while people do everything for him. I get frustrated when Jesus doesn’t heal me from colds, fevers, and acid reflux; how much more frustrating would it be to need life changing healing and not get it?
In this situation, Jesus is reminding us that our greatest need is not physical. Jesus knows that the suffering that comes from the consequences of sin is much worse than being paralyzed. Jesus knows that more than needing healing of the body, this man needs healing of the heart.
If our physical needs were the most important issue we face, then God would have sent Jesus to end disease and world hunger.
God sent Jesus to stand in our place, pay the price for our sins, and take our punishment.
According to 1 Timothy 1:15, Jesus came to the earth to save sinners. That is not the only thing He did while he was on earth, nor was it the only reason He came, but Jesus is the only one who is able to save us (Acts 4:12), and believing in Jesus is the only way to be brought back to God (John 14:6).
As we strive to be like Jesus in the way we love and serve others we cannot forget the greatest need in every human heart.
The teenage girl with boyfriend issues doesn’t only need advice regarding temptation, she needs to be reminded that Jesus is the only thing that will satisfy her heart that longs for love and affection.
The co-worker that drinks themselves to sleep every night doesn’t only need to hear about the mental and physical dangers of addiction, they need to hear of the God who has seen them in their darkest days and still paid the price for them on the cross.
The young girl stuck in the red light district doesn’t only need to be rescued, cared for, and given counsel. She needs to be fed the living and healing Word of God that has the power to free her from fear, unforgiveness, and lies.
The homeless person doesn’t only need a burger and a hotel room, he needs to hear the good news that he is seen, loved, and cared for by the God of the universe who created him for His glory.
I am not saying that we are to neglect external needs. That would be extremely unbiblical. We see all throughout scripture that God cares for both physical needs and the heart. Both are important. But, meeting external needs should always be a way for us to point people to the eternal need that has been met in Jesus.
Our acts of mercy should always be motivated by a desire to make Christ’s most merciful act known.
We live in a world that is overwhelmed with brokeness, heart ache, pain, and disappoint. As we walk in being the embodiment of Jesus, loving one another the way we love ourselves, I pray God will give us the boldness to enter into the needs of people’s hearts as we care for them with our hands.