The first and greatest commandment that we have been given by God is to love Him with all of our hearts, souls, and minds (Matthew 22:37-38). The second commandment is just like it. We must love our neighbors as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:39). If we do not love our neighbors – the people around us – then we can’t possibly love God. After all, we can see our neighbors, but we can’t see God. So, if we don’t love the people around us who we can see, how can we possibly say that we love God, who we cannot see? (1 John 4:20)
Scripture makes it very clear that our love of others is important to God. And just as important as loving others is serving them. We serve God because we love Him and because this is what is required of us (Joshua 22:5). For the same reasons, we must also serve the people around us, our family, friends, neighbors, and even total strangers. When we serve others, we are serving God.
In the parable of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:31-46), Jesus spoke of the importance of serving others. While this parable refers to believers who remain on earth after the tribulation, its message also applies to all of us now. Jesus makes it clear that when we serve others, even total strangers, we are also serving Him. When we feed the hungry, when we provide drink to the thirsty, and when we clothe those who are in need, we are doing these things for Him. When we provide hospitality to others (especially strangers!), when we take care of the sick, and when we visit those in prison, we are doing these things for Him. Acts of service to the people around us are acts of service to God. Serving others means serving God.