For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ – Matthew 25:35-36
With a heavy clink, the lock to the solid metal door disengaged. This was the third door along the series of convoluted passageways and stairs. At the end of the walk was an open room, where thirty men dressed in ubiquitous blue shorts and white t-shirts with number emblazoned across the front waited. Thirty pairs of eyes were transfixed as the sermon was shared. Many came forward at the call to respond. That was my first experience preaching in prison.
Going into prison to minister to inmates, visiting the sick, or blessing a stranger may be very foreign to most of us living in Singapore’s reserved and private culture. Yet, these are the very things we as Methodists are called to do. Wesley noted that these acts are a natural result of experiencing grace that sanctifies us. He wrote:
…feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, entertaining the stranger, visiting those that are in prison, or sick, or variously afflicted… This is the repentance, and these the fruits meet for repentance which are necessary to full sanctification. This is the way wherein God hath appointed his children to wait for complete salvation.76
When we repent and turn from our old way of life, caring for others is a fruit that is necessary for full repentance.
How is God calling you to care for and minister to others? What practical steps will you take in responding to God’s call?