Transformed by the Word: The least of these
By Lyn Wake | Wycliffe Today Christmas Edition 2023 |
‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ Matthew 25:40 (NLT).
Who are the ‘least of these’? According to this parable in Matthew 25, it includes people who are hungry and thirsty. The homeless strangers. The naked, sick and imprisoned. You get the idea. In this passage, Jesus revealed God’s heart for those who feel forgotten and insignificant. Jesus taught his followers the eternal consequences of how we relate to those who live in the margins of society. How we treat the least of these truly matters.
Wycliffe Australia members have a heart for reaching out to people all over the world who feel the pain of marginalisation. In partnership with Jesus and his family, we address the needs of overlooked people groups and languages. We seek to bring equal opportunities for every person to encounter Jesus through translated Scriptures.
Throughout the Bible, the least of these also includes widows, orphans, refugees, grieving parents, outcasts, those who are misunderstood because they look and feel different. The list goes on. We have all experienced moments of being ‘the least of these’ in one way or another!
Thankfully, the gospel proclaims Jesus as the righteous king who continues to deliver and transform every person who recognises their poverty of spirit without him. Jesus came for the least of these. He still comes for you and for me, with an all-inclusive invitation that meets us where we are. Thank God that exclusive margins do not exist within his glorious kingdom! The ‘least of these’ are never forgotten or insignificant but forever loved and important to him.
Be Transformed by the Word as you engage with Matthew 25.
Reflection: How can you join Jesus in blessing the ‘least of these’ in this season of your life?
Prayer: Father, thank you for meeting me in the areas of my life where I feel misunderstood and overlooked. May your Spirit lead me to places where I can bless those who feel forgotten and alone. In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.
Feature image by Heather Pubols
This is my story, this is my song
By Lyn Wake | Wycliffe Today Winter 2023 |
He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. – Psalm 40:3a (NLT)
Fanny Crosby had a significant story to tell, and she told it prolifically through the writing of more than 8,000 worship songs! Fanny was blind from infanthood, yet grateful to God for spiritual sight. An American poet, hymnist and mission worker, Fanny was known as the ‘Queen of Gospel Song Writers’. Many of her songs still resound more than a century after she faithfully walked the earth. One in particular is embedded in my spirit. Perhaps you can sing along with me:
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
born of his Spirit, washed in his blood.
This is my story, this is my song,
praising my Saviour all the day long,
This is my story, this is my song,
praising my Saviour, all the day long.
What is your story? What is your song? Perhaps you are in a season of sorrow, unsure of how your story will unfold. You may even be heading towards the last chapter of your story on earth. But friends, when our stories are united with Christ and woven together with his, we always have an extraordinarily precious life song to sing!
When my story felt like it was totally falling apart, God kindly showed me how he was integrating everything into its rightful place within his-story. Priceless promises from Psalm 40 assured me how he was going to transform cruel circumstances into an unimaginable redemption story. My life song is not over, and neither is yours. May our life stories sing in harmony with God’s glories – now and forevermore!
For reflection: How can I be more attuned and attentive to the life stories of others?
Be transformed by the Word as you engage with: Psalm 40
Prayer: Lord of all our stories, I want my life to sing that you are mine! Whatever chapter I am experiencing, may I be given the grace to sing your praises all day long. Amen.
Transformed by the Word: ‘Partnership with God’
By Lyn Wake | Wycliffe Today Spring Edition 2022 |
When my husband and I joined the global Bible translation movement, we viewed it as a great opportunity to ‘do something good for God’. While we were correct on one hand, our incomplete perspective needed transforming. Over time, and in the company of inspirational family and colleagues, we experienced a paradigm shift.
We discovered that Christian ministry is not about doing things for God, but with him!
From the beginning, we have been designed for a loving partnership with the Creator and Sustainer of the universe – a partnership made possible through the redeeming work of Jesus. God can work in any manner he chooses. Yet, incredibly, he seems to delight in wrapping his infinite goodness within the broken beauty of our shared humanity to achieve his good purposes. Yes, partnership with God is his divinely chosen modus operandi.
Saint Teresa of Avila, a 16th century Spanish nun, is attributed with the following poem. It describes in practical terms what partnership with God looks like:
Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours.1
May we all live into this God-ordained partnership – one that will last forever and bear tons of rich fruit for his glory!
Reflect: Where might the flow of partnership with God be blocked in your life and stifling the fulfilment of your union with Jesus?
Be transformed by the Word as you engage with: John 15:1-17
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we acknowledge that without you, we can do nothing. By your Spirit, enable us to partner with you so we can accomplish many glorious things together to bless your world. Amen.
1 ‘Christ Has No Body’ by St Teresa of Avila c 1515-1582 AD.
The featured image is the chapel in Avila, Spain. Photograph by Mario la Pergola.
By Lyn Wake | Wycliffe Today Autumn 2021
In 2021, we pause to remember God and all he has done over the many years of Bible translation ministry in our country and throughout the world. Remembering God’s faithfulness is a major theme that keeps appearing throughout Scripture. Why? Because we have a great tendency to forget!
In Deuteronomy 8, the people of God were told to REMEMBER the Lord and not forget his character and promises. They were commanded to keep remembering him by constantly declaring to all generations the stories of his great deliverance and his wonderful attributes. They were also asked to keep certain memorial ceremonies built into the rhythms of community life to protect them from forgetting God and his eternal covenant with them.
The ancient Passover was the greatest of these remembrance feasts. Passover pointed forward to Jesus, the Lamb of God, who would deliver God’s children from slavery and death. During the Last Supper, Jesus turned this most significant remembrance symbol into a much deeper one as he established a beautiful and sacramental way to practically remember God and his merciful salvation plan.
Passover was not only fulfilled in Jesus but transformed by him into a magnificent memorial. On the night of his betrayal, Jesus took the Passover bread, gave thanks, broke it, and offered it to his disciples, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me’. Luke 22:19 (NIV)
The remembrance Jesus commands is not simply reflecting on his death and resurrection through a religious ceremony. Nor is it merely longing for the fulfillment of his glorious promises in the future.
It is also an active, continual remembrance of God’s love for us here and now. Intentionally remembering God in the memorial of communion activates the liberating presence of Christ himself. This active and living remembrance of God provides a transformative means of abundant life with him right now as we keep remembering behind with thankfulness, and remembering ahead with hope.
Be transformed by the Word as you engage with Psalm 106 and 1 Corinthians 11:23–26.