You Did It To Me

34 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. 35 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, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you did it to me.’     Matthew 25:34-40

2020 was an unprecedented year for all of us.  Years from now when we look back, we'll always remember the year that we first experienced a pandemic that changed the way we do life.  For most of our church family, our lives were turned upside down and challenged in a way that led to purchases of facemasks, quarantining at home and learning the definition of the new term..."social distancing".  Yet for some in society, the onset of COVID-19 meant losing  employment, not being able to put food on the table, and struggling to find hope in a season filled with hopelessness.  Just when you think you've got it bad, remember that there's always someone else that's got it worse.

In the midst of this pandemic, God has allowed His Bride to be tested to see how we would respond with a heart of compassion.  Our natural go-to in the face of such adversity is self-preservation and looking out for our families and loved ones.  And while we're responsible to take care of and look out for those in our circles, we also have the responsibility to keep an outward perspective towards those who are hurting, even if we don't have a personal relationship with them.  I feel that's what the heart of this passage from Matthew 25 is all about.  Jesus doesn't just care about the hungry, the strangers, the poor, the sick and the imprisoned.....the least of these.  He calls for us to care about them.  Jesus said that when we do it to them, we do it to Him.

The year 2020 provided many opportunities for our church to "love on Jesus".  We partnered with Jubilee REACH to provide groceries for families in the area that could not afford to put food on the table.  That list of families has grown to over 700 families now, and Cornerstone will continue to participate in the grocery drive through June.  We partnered with Bloodworks NW by setting up as a mobile blood bank in the Bel-Red area.  Not only did Cornerstone folks give blood, but our Ministry Center served as the primary location for those in the Bel-Red area to donate life-saving blood as hospitals were low in supply.  Bloodworks will be utilizing the Ministry Center once again at the end of March, the Passion Week leading up to Good Friday and Easter.  We partnered with Rescue Freedom, a global nonprofit organization which combats human trafficking around the world.  Our movie night fundraiser shattered all expectations, as we ended up raising over $90,000(!) to help free the oppressed and to combat this heinous evil.  We also partnered with World Relief as our Good Neighbor Team helped to equip, guide and love on a refugee family from Kenya settling into the country in the midst of a pandemic.  Simply amazing!

I was touched by all the personal stories of compassion as well, ranging from folks reaching out to their neighbors and establishing relationships with them to people visiting inmates in prison to bring hope and share the love of Jesus.  People bought groceries for the quarantined elderly, while others listened and walked alongside those being torn apart by the divisive issues fracturing our society.  I can honestly say that my heart was challenged and grew in the area of compassion more than any year of my life.  Although 2020 definitely brought its challenges, I believe it also was a blessing in disguise.

My hope for this year is that we all continue to live for Jesus by loving on the least of these.

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