Sunday

19 Jan

Matthew 25:35-40New International Version (NIV)

35 For 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,36 I 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?38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

I’ve lived in a ServiceNet shelter, Soldier On, Cherry St.  I’ve been locked in psych wards three times, the last time for two months.  I still eat at soup kitchens.  

 

When Jesus talks of the “least of these”, I hear him talking about me.

 

But Jesus also said, “whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me”.  So if Jesus says doing the same for the least of our community is equivalent to doing for Jesus, then surely we have to rethink what the “least” means in this context.  Because surely we wouldn’t think Jesus to be the “least” of anything, right?

 

I’ve been pondering this all week, and this thought came to me.  Right now, I have a wound on my leg.  But I don’t want to get rid of my leg because it’s injured.  Of course not.  I value my leg.  I still need my leg.  So instead, I take care of the wound.  I clean it.  I protect it. I give it what it needs to help it heal, so that it can become stronger and remain a part of the body as it’s meant to be.

 

In the body that is our community, everyone has value.  After all, are we not all God’s children?  And Jesus is truly the son of God.  So when Jesus says taking care of the least of us is as doing for Him, perhaps what he means is that as children of God, as He is, we are all of equal value, and must be cared for.  “The least” doesn’t imply lack of value.  It simply refers to the fact that in order to keep the whole of our community together, we must care for those parts of our body that need that extra attention.

 

Sometimes, I am the least of these brothers and sisters.  Sometimes I am the one who needs to be lifted up.  But I also have value.

 

I was a sergeant in the army, a leader of men.  I held a top secret clearance.  I’m a published author, a talk show host, a college graduate.  Though I have suffered, I still have value.  And I am but one of God’s children.  As was Jesus.  As are all of us.  And so it seems that we are all at times the least of these brothers and sisters.  No matter our economic situation, or where we live, or what we do for work, or any other thing that may independently be a label that may define an aspect of us but not the whole of our being.  Even Jesus suffered.  

 

And though at times, every one of us may feel like the “least of these”, every.  Single.  One of us.  HAS VALUE.  We all have strengths.  We all have something to offer others.  We may not see it.  Sometimes those labels on the exterior make it so hard to see that God has given each of us gifts.  

 

I’m standing here today, talking to all of you, holding this mike, talking about the bible.  Three years ago, I first came to Cathedral in the Night because I was hungry and I heard there was free food.  On that day I first came here, I felt like the least of these.  Some days, I still feel that way.  But I found out since then that I have value.  And it turns out, so does everyone else.  

 

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