Pastor Robbie, the youth pastor at our new church, preached a fantastic sermon tonight based on Matt. 25:31-46. Although the passage in my Bible has the title of “The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats”, the words that jump out at me are “the least of these…”
In some circles, I am now the least of these. I no longer have a ministry position, I am unemployed, and my future seems uncertain at this point. Some people I respect and care about seem to not see me anymore; it appears that I have become invisible.
In Matthew 25:44, the group of people identified by Christ as the “goats” ask Him, “When did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?” And the answer is simple: they didn’t see Him, because they didn’t see anyone. They were blind to the people in need all around them.
Which begs the question: who am I not seeing? Who needs me, but I’m too busy, too distracted, too selfish, too whatever, to stop what I’m doing and put someone else’s needs before my own?
Our former church has had a food pantry and distribution center for several years that reaches out to our local community. I volunteered mostly every week, not necessarily because they needed my help, but because I truly love the people. I received many complaints that I “held up the line”, because I stopped and talked to the people, hugged them and learned their names. I’m not trying to brag; I simply wanted my neighbors to know that I saw them as people, not just numbers on our “Families Served” list.
But I can’t just say that my church feeds the hungry so my responsibility is completed. I need to do more. We volunteer at our girls’ school, but one day a week doesn’t relieve my responsibility either. Is the answer more days a week? More volunteering? More social type work?
No, the answer is to see. See the people around me. See the kids in my neighborhood. See the people in the grocery store. See the people in my church. To look at my life, my circumstances, my situations like Jesus would. To respect people just for whom they are, not what they can do for me. To talk to people I come in contact with, not just the ones in my circle of friends. To remember the power in physical touch and eye contact.
Will you join me in asking God to open your eyes to see the people we would normally walk by? Will you ask Him to allow you to truly see the ones who have been praying for someone, anyone, to notice them? You will be doing it for Jesus, not just the least of these.
In pursuit of zoe,