Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.
—Matthew 25:40 (ESV)
One devout parishioner, Tom, reflected on this text after a Sunday service and said, “Pastor, I don’t think I do enough of these good things.” He was a penitent sinner, worried that he hadn’t fed the hungry, given drink to the thirsty, invited in the stranger, clothed the naked, looked after the sick, and visited those in prison as he should. His pastor wisely replied, “We all have doubt at times. Our old sinful nature constantly causes us to think that we never do enough good works. We may even wonder whether our faith is real.
“We are always saint and sinner. We cannot rely upon ourselves. Instead, rely completely on your trustworthy Savior, our Lord, Jesus Christ! John the Baptist points us to Jesus, ‘Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.’ Jesus is the One who died for your sins and the sins of the whole world. Jesus credits you with all of His righteousness. Jesus feeds the hungry, gives the thirsty a drink, invites in the stranger, clothes the naked, looks after the sick, and visits the prisoners. Amazingly, Jesus accomplishes this through you and me as God’s baptized children. Always fix your eyes on Jesus and find your peace in Him.”
Thank God that Tom’s pastor insightfully shared this message of life and salvation. He assured Tom of God’s love for him in Christ. To impart such biblical wisdom to pastors, who bring such reassurance and riches of life in Christ to the penitent, is not possible without the love, prayers, and generous financial support of the people of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). The Holy Spirit continues to draw faithful men into the pastoral program and women into the deaconess program.
Presently, numerous first-year and returning students are enthusiastically beginning the 171st academic year at Concordia Theological Seminary (CTSFW), Fort Wayne, where they are formed into servants in Jesus Christ who teach the faithful, reach the lost, and care for all. Such formation occurs in the Chapel, in the classroom, in group study and during dining hall discussions with fellow students and faculty. Formation is also acquired through practical fieldwork and vicarage experiences at LCMS congregations under the tutelage of experienced pastors. Students are taught, instructed, and shaped into practicing theologians, serving God and His people. They are formed as servants who bear Christ’s character and heart, giving counsel and aid to the troubled.
The story of Tom did not end with this comforting conversation with his pastor. Although Tom was relatively young, death came to him unexpectedly. Prior to his death, however, Tom planned his will, leaving a great gift, and an endowment for the good of the church, which included CTSFW. By that gift, he continues to feed the hungry and give drink to the thirsty. Will you partner with us and give generously today, as Tom did? We pray you will!