Ministering to the Least (Part 4)

In this final four-part set of posts, we wrap up the lessons learned from what it looks like to “minister to the least” and how to apply that thinking to our own lives. If you missed the beginning of this series, look for the other parts on this site or check out the first one here. Or just listen to Dr. Tony Evan’s sermon titled #Second: Rekindling a Heart for Others—Ministering to the Least, where a lot of this information comes from.

Dependence Like Children

Matthew 18:1

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

At this point, we’re being told that the disciples are essentially “smelling themselves” and applauding their own faithfulness to their Rabbi—Jesus Christ.

Matthew 18:2-6

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

In other words, as Dr. Evans explains it best—you want to know about God, you better act like a kid. Why kids? They are characterized by their need for total dependence. Jesus is conveying, “you’ll never became great in My Kingdom as long as you are independent from Me.” He pays attention to DEPENDENT folk who are dependent on Him.

Let’s skip ahead a chapter…

Matthew 19:13-15

Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.

Again, Jesus is expressing His desire for children to enter into the picture here. Could it be that He’s also looking for those potential followers that can become fully dependent on Him and not just actual physical children? After all, it is a lot easier to introduce people to the teachings of Jesus before the influences of the world engulfs them. Hence when children are young and still impressionable, it is easier to have that lasting impact stay with them as they develop later on in their adult life.

For example…

The Garden Environment Analogy

Dr. Evans has a great analogy on this one. A parent, who never brought his kids to church was invited by his pastor to walk in the church garden. During their stroll, the pastor asked the parent why he never brought his kids to church. The parent responded that he didn’t want to force it upon them, and wanted his kids to make up their own mind to decide if they wanted to go to church.

The pastor then showed him around to an ugly side of the garden where weeds had completely overtaken it. The vegetables and fruit were ugly and hardly grown because of the invading weeds, strangling the life out of them. The parent asked why on earth the pastor would ever let his garden get like that. The pastor responded with, “well I let the fruit and vegetables decide for themselves when or if they want to grow.”

You let your kids decide for themselves and they may decide to go against God. Dr. Evans stresses that a parent’s job is raise kids in a God-fearing environment, and the church’s job is help a parent with that task.

Same goes for anyone for that matter—including ourselves. We need a good environment to help us along, just as much as we need to provide that good environment to another. God chooses to work through people at times. He doesn’t need to, but He chooses to. So be open to the call and becoming a light in this darkened world. You might light up someone’s else’s life in the process…

Good luck and godspeed my friends.