What does it mean to be the hands and feet of Jesus in 2023 in your corner of the world? With so much division, difficulties, and confusion, it can sometimes be overwhelming as to what you can actually do. What difference can you really make in this world? Can you really be the hands and feet of Jesus?
In Matthew 5, Jesus talks about Christians being the salt and light of the world. The words change slightly depending on your preferred translation, but the sentiment is the same. In verse 14, Jesus says, his followers, are the “light of the world” and, like a city set on a hilltop, unable to be hidden. Too often, it is overlooked that the Lord has set you in your unique setting because he invites you to be his hands and feet. Where has the Lord set you to be his hands and feet? Maybe it’s your place of work or your gym. Perhaps it’s your 2nd graders’ homeroom class or tee ball team. You are designed and set right where the Lord can use you. Whether in a sophomore Spanish class or at the local bank, you are in a position to be His hands and feet.
Recognizing and valuing where you are is just the beginning. Below are some practical ways to be the hands and feet of Jesus right where you are.
👉🏼 Share your story.
The remarkable thing about your story is that it’s yours and unique to you. God has impacted you in unique and powerful ways. Because it’s your personal story, it’s undebatable. Too often, people get bogged down when asked to share their testimony or faith because they lack the confidence or knowledge of detailed points of theology, so they become overwhelmed and intimidated. Combat this fear by sticking to what you know. Use your story and how God has changed you, shaped you, and invited you to more. You don’t have to be on the debate team to share what God has done in your life. Remember you have walked your journey and are right where you are because God invites you to share in His story as His hands and feet.
👉🏼 Engage the other person.
In this world of polarization and differences, you have the power to combat these issues just as Jesus did. Now Jesus’ willingness to engage others outside the social norms did help get him killed, but it’s also an invitation for your own life. Jesus was constantly surrounded by those outside the Jewish faith and outside the status quo. Too often bubbles of comfort are created with others who look like you, talk like you, believe like you, and eat the same things you do. Unfortunately, your desire for comfort causes you to miss out on engaging with others from different walks of life and limits your capacity to learn and fully live. Jesus’ example challenges you to break out of your comfort zone and reach out and learn about the lives and experiences of others. So if you are a donkey, talk to an elephant. If you are Catholic, have a conversation with an Evangelical. If you are a Red Sox fan, talk with a Yankee fan. Cross the aisle. Cross the street. Be willing to engage the other person to expand your circles, hear different perspectives, and engage the world in new ways to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
👉🏼 Be a good neighbor.
Jesus and Mr. Rogers both talked about this one. In Matthew 22, the religious folks are at it again to try and trip up Jesus. Thankfully he is Jesus, so he outwitted them and helped clarify the two greatest commandments.
- Love God with everything you have.
- Love your neighbor as yourself.
It’s tough to follow this one and be the hands and feet of Jesus if you don’t know your neighbor. It’s the person in the cubicle next to you or the person in the flat below you. Maybe it’s a lovely, elderly couple down the street. You have to know your neighbors to love them. Seeing the invitation to be God’s hands and feet should motivate you to engage your neighbors.
👉🏼 Share a meal.
In many stories of Jesus, he is on his way to, attending or leaving a meal. Sitting around a table with a group of people must have been important to Jesus. When people gather for a meal, they naturally engage one another. It’s a way into their culture, values, and story. For Jesus, this often involved some very mixed company, but regardless, sharing a meal was one of the many ways that Jesus engaged people, got to know them, and challenged them. The same is possible for you. The idea of hosting a meal, in general, seems to be a lost art in the culture as busyness is embraced as a virtue and fast food is the norm. Sitting and slowing down, maybe even without your phone, to share a meal with someone allows you to share your stories. You can’t change a world you don’t know, so maybe buy an extra pizza and invite the newlyweds from down the street. Have the single mom from your office bring her children over for some spaghetti. It doesn’t have to be extravagant to be engaging. Hospitality and sitting around a table are great ways to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
Here is a challenge as you seek to be the hands and feet of Jesus in your corner of the world. Share these with your family and friends. Pick one and do it. See what takes shape. As you actively engage in the invitations where the Lord has set you, you will begin to see a little bit of heaven on earth and see even more opportunities to be the hands and feet of Jesus.