Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven … When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” Matthew 19:23, 25

Jesus’ disciples refused to welcome children (verse 13) but accepted the wealthy. This wasn’t surprising since Jews believed that wealth was a sign of God’s favour and that children were insignificant. So often we get God’s priorities back to front.

Often God will call his disciples to serve those the world considers insignificant. In America, it could be those on death row who are considered insignificant. In Africa, it could be children orphaned by AIDS or by war. In Australia, it could be disengaged youth. In China, it could be the disabled. In many third world countries, it could be the poor or oppressed. Maybe it’s the marginalized in our own communities.

Not only do disciples working in these situations have the challenge of making personal sacrifices to serve others, but also the additional burden of realizing that many, even Christians, won’t consider what they are doing worthwhile.

At such times, we bear in mind Jesus’ words to those who would minister to the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and those in prison, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).

The value of such service won’t be known this side of heaven but we can have confidence in knowing that Jesus sees and values our sacrifices. It brings honour to him when we are obedient to his call. Though the world may not consider our ministry successful, heaven applauds.