2001-03-29 - The Least of These
Matt 25:37-40 "Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You drink? 38 'And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 'And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' 40 "And the King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.' (NAS)
It is easy to become jaded by the myriad of images that bombard our mind and heart of starving children and mothers crying as their tiny babies rest in their arms. There are many in prison who deserve to be where they are and to never be released into society again. And the Time Magazine photo of a young Vietnamese girl running naked from her flaming village sobbing is forever etched on my memory. She had to rip off her flaming clothing to keep herself from being burned to death.
Jesus did say we would always have the poor with us. But that was in defense of the kindness of Mary Magdalene to the Lord in pouring her precious spikenard out on her beloved Lord. It was a statement of fact and not at all to say that the poor are not important. When Jesus fed the 5,000 and when He healed those in the crowd at the Temple, He didn't stop each person and ask for their personal worth, or their address, or for their political stance on the issues of the day. He fed them, and healed them - and reached out to them with pure, unfiltered compassion.
The important difference between those who are counted as righteous and those who are not is that they did something to help those who needed help. I also think it is interesting to note that the group Jesus is speaking with had no idea that they had done anything special in meeting the needs of the hungry and sick. They just did what they saw needed to be done. They did something, whatever they were able to do. This is the same selflessness that Jesus showed us when He set aside His position in Heaven for a time and lowered Himself in putting on human flesh. The end goal was to save humanity that still literally was at war with God. He did what had to be done.
These mothers and their children, the convicted murderer on death row and refugees from mankind's cruelty to his fellow man are all people who Jesus Christ died to save. They have been so left out and mistreated that they may not want to even consider God. But if we can show them the One Who loves us and fills our hearts with joy in any situation, maybe they will see something that they want too. Our faith should be visible through our day as a natural expression of a central piece of our life. Then in receiving something from us they will know the reality of that faith, and the God behind it, as it touches them.
James 2:26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. (NAS)
Grace & Peace,