While there is value to the contemplative life of prayer, true Christian service is rendered unto needy humans. Jesus congratulates some for feeding the hungry, the sick, the imprisoned, for giving clothes to the poor. They are incredulous. They don’t remember doing this to Jesus: Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?
Jesus responds: Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. — Matt. 25:37-40 NIV.
Jesus inseparably identifies himself not with the pope, not with the saint, not with the pastor, but with the poor and abject.
There are all kinds of needs. There are suicidal kids, dying marriages, gospel-ignorant peoples. The picture is of remote modern hermits in Ethiopia who follow the the hermit model. I don’t criticize anyone’s efforts to serve Christ. I’m sure they’re making an impact in the world through prayer. But I wish to say here: Serving PEOPLE of any need is serving Jesus.