It’s so easy to remain where we are comfortable. Our rounds of church, work, friends, and family are reassuring, pleasant, and peaceful.
But Paul urges us in Romans 12:16 to get out of the comfort zone where we talk and interact with people “just like us” day after day. He urges us to “associate with the lowly.”
Associate with the lowly. Why would Paul find this point important enough to include in the magnificent litany that makes up Romans 12? Consider these seven powerful reasons:
First, Jesus named this as one of the criteria for divine judgment. He said, “inasmuch as you have done so to the least of my brethren, you have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40). Visiting the sick. The poor. The prisoners.
Second, because associating with people of low position helps us become like Christ … who was willing to associate with us.
Third, it breaks down pride where it secretly lurks in our heart. It reveals and confronts prejudices we may not have been willing to admit to ourselves.
Fourth, it lets us serve when there is basically no chance of reward or recognition – and that is the test of true service: are we serving to be noticed, or are we serving to minister to the needs of others?
Fifth, it confronts the world’s value system that follows after fame and fortune. It proclaims a new direction in which to pour your energy: into the hurting, into the needy, into people whom the world says are nameless and faceless.
Sixth, it restores dignity to the people “of low position.” Serving others lets them know they are important – to you and to God. And that will draw them into the kingdom of heaven.
Seventh, it brings the kingdom of God on earth. It reverses some of the evil in the world, challenging it and vanquishing it.
So get out of your comfort zone. Serve the people whom the world ignores and debases. Why? Because Jesus himself did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).