Serving Our Neighbors

Having an Active Faith

By Amanda DeWitt

After both parents died, Marco came to live at a children’s home supported by our national field partner in southern Africa. When he first arrived at the home, Marco was very malnourished.

But after time, love, and lots of nourishing meals, Marco recovered. Today he is a strong boy in excellent health.

Hunger abounds in Marco’s community. Orphans living in six children’s homes received four to five Unto® meals each week. Vulnerable households in the surrounding area — thousands of people — also received nutritious meals.

Our in-country partners are eager to meet people’s physical needs — like providing meals — and build lasting relationships with those they serve. They hosted a feeding program through which children from the community could spend the afternoon playing games, doing crafts, listening to Bible stories, and then enjoying a meal before going home.

“We’re always greeted with joy and laughter as children anticipate going to sleep with full bellies,” our partner said.

Marco is a great example of the difference kindness can make. Once neglected and malnourished, he now thrives. He loves to swim, climb trees, and hunt for spiders. Nourishing meals changed his life — they helped open the door to a bright future as he experienced the kindness of Jesus.

Real Religion

Just like our partners in southern Africa, we too want to make a difference in the lives of those around us. As people who have experienced the kindness of Jesus, we can’t help but pass it on.

James summarized the call to active faith when he said, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (1:27).

Real religion changes us. And it changes how we relate to others too. When we see someone in need, we move into action.

We care for those closest to us. But we also do more. We serve the “orphans and widows” — those viewed as the least in society, without hope and help apart from others’ kindness and care.

Today over 800 million people worldwide suffer from undernourishment. Over 160 million children experience stunted growth due to a lack of proper nutrition.

With so many needs around us, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. So where do we start?

Serve your neighbor. As part of God’s church, we are called to care for fellow Christians. If we see a brother or sister with a tangible need that we can meet, we must do more than offer simple platitudes. We must help (James 2:14-16).

Is there someone around you in need of a ride to church or a doctor’s appointment? Can you help an elderly friend with lawn care? Can you pick up a few items at the grocery store for a family whose mom or dad just lost their job?

Serve the nations. We are called to love those closest to us. But we are also called to love the outcast, forgotten, forsaken — those who cannot help themselves. Often these people live right down the street from us. But they live around the globe too.

It is easy to forget how many starving people there are in the world today. It feels overwhelming to try and meet their needs. So start with one.

Is there one person in your community you can help? Is there one mission or ministry you can support? Is there one cause you are passionate about and can champion — either through giving or through telling others about it?   

As you go about your week, look for simple ways that you can serve your neighbor and the nations. How will you share hope and help today?

Published February 27, 2019


Amanda is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Gift for Leadership, Kindred Spirit, and Christianity Today publications. She holds a M.A. in Media and Communication from Dallas Theological Seminary.