Bible Studies for Life Lesson for December 5- Value What God Values
November 18 2010 by Catherine Painter, Raleigh speaker, author

Focal Passage: Isaiah 61:1-11 Luke 4:16-21

records that Jesus went to the synagogue on the Sabbath. Jewish custom was to enlist a reader for the day.

Jesus stood, and was handed the scroll of Isaiah. He chose to read chapter 61:1-3.

We can imagine that as Jesus read, He internalized the needs of those He read about: naked people with no one clothing them; hungry, with no one feeding them; sick, and no one visiting them; imprisoned — most of them for debt — and no one delivering them; ill beggars at the gates of the wealthy, but no one caring; widows with two half-farthings separating them from destitution; laborers waiting all day to be hired, but left unwanted.

Throughout the gospels Jesus acted with compassion (with suffering) while dealing with needy people. He felt and shared their suffering (Matt. 9:36-38). Therefore, we can interpret all need as His need. Every hungry baby is a hungry Christ child; every weary traveler is Jesus, walking miles to preach and minister. Anyone experiencing need has Christ with him; therefore, whoever provides food or drink to the suffering is serving the needy Christ.

St. Francis of Assisi was such a person. Legend says that one day while riding his steed, he came upon a beggar who was also a leper, shivering in the cold. On impulse, St. Francis got down from his horse, embraced the beggar, and wrapped his coat around him. That night St. Francis dreamed that he died. In heaven he saw Jesus sitting on His throne, wearing the coat.

Jesus said, “I assure you: Whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me” (Matt. 25:40). But here ends only half of our lesson. Jesus also prayed for you and me when he said to the Father, “As You have sent me into the world, even so have I sent them” (Jn. 17:18).        

To serve Jesus, we don’t need to leave home. We can simply value the things God values. Often this means thinking small. I can’t provide funds for a college dorm, but I can offer water to the thirsty. I can’t pay a needy person’s rent, but I can offer sympathy and provide  listening ears.

The Bible promises, “Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again” (Eccles. 11:1 NIV).
11/18/2010 6:46:00 AM by Catherine Painter, Raleigh speaker, author | with 0 comments

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