We know love is important. We understand at a fundamental level that we should treat each other with kindness and respect. But how we show this love is not always clear. Certainly there are many people around us who have needs, but how do we know where to put our efforts?
What Would Love Do? is a seven (7) week program that explores the biblical parable of Matthew 25, wherein Jesus speaks of the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and the imprisoned. Jesus says that whenever we help others in these conditions, we help God. Join us as we practice serving the neighbor on both a physical and spiritual level in these 6 ways.
You may use this program by yourself, or with your group or your friends, to discover new spiritual insights about your life which will help you feel closer to the Lord.
You can start your own exploration at any time with our free email program, with inspiration, explanation, reflections, and tasks.
Each of the seven weeks explores a different fundamental human need Jesus tells us to serve:
- Love Serves (Hungry)
- Love Brings Truth (Thirsty)
- Love Welcomes (Stranger)
- Love Comforts (Naked)
- Love Visits (Sick)
- Love is Present (Imprisoned)
- Love Rejoices (Wrap-up Week)
Explore these topics during the program
Week one: love serves
I was hungry and you gave me food
In a loving environment where we know that our presence makes a positive impact, we gain emotional nourishment. We are surrounded by goodness, this is spiritual food. Feeding the hungry can mean anything from handing a bowl of soup to a homeless person on the street, to helping a friend use her talents.
Week two: love brings truth
I was thirsty and you gave me drink
Water is essential for life. Just as hunger and thirst are closely related, so are the desire for goodness (hunger) and the desire to know what is true (thirst). The deepest, most urgent questions we ask represent our thirst on an emotional level. Getting good "water" is essential for our mental, emotional and spiritual health.
Week three: love welcomes
I was a stranger and you took me in
We are social beings. We thrive on touch, communication, friendship. Without enough genuine connection we may find ourselves feeling lonely, anxious or depressed. Just as our bodies move from place to place, we are also on an inner journey. This week we have an opportunity to welcome the stranger, both physically and spiritually, by offering the kind of instruction that helps them feel included, known and loved.
Week four: love comforts
I was naked and you clothed me
Clothes keep us dry and warm, and protect us from harsh environments. Beyond that, they represent a freedom of expression, a sense of pride, confidence and identity. Nakedness can represent a certain state of mind, we may be full of self-doubt, feeling unworthy or ashamed. Offering clothing is reaffirming the truth about the person.
Week five: love visits
I was sick and you visited me
Being sick feels awful. Nothing helps us appreciate health more than having to lie in bed with fever and chills.But some people may not have any outward signs of illness, they are struggling internally and could use some kindness and compassion in their lives. Maybe we know someone who cheats. Maybe we know someone who treats others like dirt. Can we visit those who are sick in this way?
Week six: love is present
I was in prison and you came to me
Someone who sits behind bars often ranks high on the list of people to shun. Being present for someone who is stuck is yet another way to be a force of love in the world. Jesus tells us to find ways to be there for others who are in prison, either spiritually or physically, and to recognize our own internal messages that keep us trapped.
Week seven: love rejoices
As you have done it to the least of these my brothers and sisters, you have done it to me.
During this wrap-up week, we reflect on how it is a blessing to be able to be there for each other, comfort each other, and meet each other's needs. When it comes from love, we're doing it with joy. No matter what situation we find ourselves in, the choice is ours. When deciding what step to take, we can simply ask, What would love do?
A small group is a gathering of people who commit to meet on a weekly basis to explore their faith and support each other in applying that faith to life. Small groups usually include prayer, a time for checking in, and discussions or related activities.
- Start your own! It’s easy with the step-by-step What Would Love Do? Leader's Edition workbook
Are you a pastor, program director, or small group leader? Visit our New Church Journey leaders page for leader information and resources.
Questions? Contact us by email at [email protected].