34“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
I love this scripture from Matthew 25: 34 – 40 and it is another core foundation to how we can be the influence to show people that we are here for the right reasons. What words here or concepts here jump out at you? For me personally I see Jesus telling people that, despite where a person is from, or what their background is, Love them, you have to show them the love that Christ has shown us. We hear people say a lot these days that us believers may be the only thing people know of Jesus, that we ARE Jesus to them. What kind of Jesus have we been though? What kind of Jesus should we be?
There are a LOT of different kinds of people, believers and non-believers of all kinds, and in a lot of cases both are at risk of being lost forever, it’s all going to come down to how a person of Faith treats them. If you come down the pike using Jesus’ name while you condemn and degrade them, then it’s going to be real easy for them to lump the rest of us in that boat, and unfortunately, as I’ve said many times before, a lot of people have already done that for us. However, if you are that ONE person that shows them understanding, compassion, and interest in them as a human being, then regardless of the past they have and the choices they made, they are going to know you are a good person, and the second you let them know that the reason you love them is because Jesus loved you first, it’s that much easier for them to listen to anybody else talk about their Faith. Kinda like that old cliche “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
In case you haven’t picked up on it, I’m a pretty big fan of Shane Claiborne. To me, I think he’s just really good at putting all the right words to what I’ve always been trying to say. I had the privilege of hearing him speak when I took my senior youth to conference in 2010 and during his talk, he said something that convicted me SOOOOO hard that it stays with me almost daily. Paraphrasing it went like this – When Jesus said “When I was hungry and thirsty”, you wrote a check to the local food bank and they fed me. He didn’t say “When I was naked”, you donated your old clothes to the goodwill and they sold them to me at a cheap price. He didn’t say “When I was sick”, you told me about the latest pill to take to make it all better. You see where this is going right?
So, are we “The Body of Christ”? Are we out there using our hands, feet, words, and actions to bring healing and reconciliation in Christ’s stead? Or are we simply mouths that babble on about love, forgiveness, and the sins that condemn while our feet only take us far enough for our hands to “drop off” the latest donation for someone else to take care of those that Jesus Himself cared so deeply for in not only word but deeds? That stuff is hard work isn’t it? It takes a lot of time and effort on our own behalf and there ARE organizations out there to do this kind of thing for us. If there’s a middle man why should we get our own hands dirty?
What’s the ultimate reward here? Isn’t it that Jesus Himself has told you, in this scripture, that if you can extend this love to another person, be they the lowest, then it is just as good as if you were doing it for Christ Himself? Let’s face it, how good is that going to make you feel? When YOU, are the difference in a person’s life. When you know that YOU were able to be Jesus to someone that hasn’t seen a whole lot of Him around lately.
Zach is a father, husband, and social media addict that describes his approach to faith as being a “Charismatic, Evangelical, Anabaptist that loves Catholic traditon, or just a plain old ‘lover of Jesus’ for short. He is the Youth director at Poages Mill Church of the Brethren and hangs out with an odd group he calls the “Holy Burrito Crew”.