have you ever rocked jesus to sleep? have you ever patted jesus on the bottom while he was screaming in your ear? have you ever woken up in the middle of the night to feed jesus?
let me explain. well, first let me share a passage from the bible, and then explain.
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ matthew 25:31-40
"...seek to show hospitality" romans 12:13
the passage from matthew shows that every gift (no matter how trivial) given with the right heart is ultimately a gift given to jesus, and will not be neglected in the last judgement. furthermore, we see the condition of our relationship with God in our relationship with others (thank you to doug wilson for those insights).
the second passage shows that God wants us to welcome strangers into our homes (the meaning of hospitality when mentioned in the NT is referring to welcoming traveling strangers into your home. they didn't have a lot of hotels back then.) these days, its not common to welcome random travelers into your home, but one great way to follow this commandment is by taking in foster kids, strangers who are in need of a warm, loving home.
one of the hard things about foster/adoption is that though our hearts are 100% eager and excited to adopt, so far none of the kids we have welcomed into our home have been adoptable. so, after it becomes clear that adoption is unlikely, you have a period of time where it feels like you are taking care of someone else's child, when you want to be putting your time/energy/effort/love towards caring for kids who are or will be your own.
sometimes i wonder if i am wasting my time, to spend hours every day rocking a baby that isn't mine, changing her diapers, driving to and monitoring parent visits, and constantly trying to comfort her during fussy times.
the passage that has helped me more than any other is the passage from matthew 25. ultimately it comes down to this: am i wasting my time? no. because every act of service done for baby girl (and all of our foster kiddos) is done for jesus.
and it will have eternal impact and rewards.
for this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 corinthians 4:17-18