Christians have always been world changers, and our influence has shaped society for two thousand years. Friedrich Froebel (1782-1852), for example, was the son of a Lutheran pastor who often helped his dad in the family garden. As a young man, his Christian beliefs convinced him that children need to learn about God and His world at an early age. Friedrich imagined a school for young children that would allow their minds to be cultivated like a horticulturist tending a garden. He called his idea a Child’s Garden. Because of him, children have been going to Kindergarten for the last 150 years.
In the early 1800s, a Christian named Thomas Gallaudet sailed for Europe to study methods for educating deaf children. He told one girl, “I hope when I come back to teach you much about the Bible, and about God, and Christ.” In 1817, he opened America’s first school for the deaf.
It’s Christians who have established hospitals, started schools, begun orphanages, reformed prisons, emancipated women, abolished slavery, inspired charities, founded hospitals, clothed the naked, fed the hungry, treated the diseased, encouraged the addicted, and housed the homeless.
The Bible tells us to share the Gospel with the lost. It also tells us to bear the burdens of the needy. James said, “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble” (1:27).
We declare Christ’s love with our mouths, but we demonstrate it with our muscles.
How can we roll up our sleeves, strain our muscles, and sweat out some kindness for Jesus’ sake? The simplest answer is the oldest one: Find a need and fill it. Ask God to show you a specific cause and to empower you in meeting that need.
Our Lord stressed the priority of rolled-up sleeves in the conclusion of His Olivet Discourse in Matthew 25, telling us of the day when the Son of Man will come in His glory and all the holy angels with Him. The nations will be gathered before Him, and He will say to those on His right hand: “Come, you blessed of 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 took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me” (verses 34-36).
His sheep will say to Him, “Lord, when did we do these things for You?”
Our Lord’s reply is short and sweet: “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me” (verse 40).
We may not be able to travel the world and help millions of people. We may not single-handedly open schools, orphanages, or great charitable institutions. But we can all roll up our sleeves, pitch in, help out, and become the hands of Jesus that others might discover the heart of Jesus. That’s the authentic life; and it is part of our commission, too, for we must always remember that as we do it unto the least of these His brothers, we are doing it unto Him.