- For protection from falling shelves heavy with books
- For silly birthday cards
- For my mom
- For freedom
- For the fragrance of honeysuckle as I walk
- For cool mornings to walk
- For encouraging words
- Thankful for the new life of my great niece Emma.
Sunday, December 23, 2012
The Least of These
Matthew 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? And when did we see You a stranger and welcome You, or naked and clothe You? And when did we see You sick or in prison, and visit You?' The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you , as you did it to the one of the least of these my brothers you did it to me.'"
Who is the most important person in your church on any given Sunday? You can't answer Jesus because we all know there is no point to showing up to a Christian church without Him. Who is the most important human being arriving at your place of worship? Not just on Sunday, any time, day or night.
The first time this thought crossed my mind was late summer. I sat in the back of the church and watched others arrive. At one point one of my pastors, his wife and children arrived. He would shortly be moved from youth ministry to global and local missions pastor. A title well deserved. He and his wife had 2 young children of their own and all of a sudden had 2 more. No twins, no physical labor...but a labor of love. They adopted 2 wonderful sisters from Ethiopia. The former youngest and oldest were now the middle 2. I watched them come in slowly, for the first time...hands being held, soft encouraging words being whispered into their ears.
Those girls were the 2 most important people in that room to me...and I dare say to Jesus too. Far more than we know. Thousands of miles from the place they had called home...an orphanage... to another home, another language and another culture with four new people; a new mom, a new dad, a new sister and what's this? A new brother! I could see how precious a gift these girls were to mom and dad. This was truly a match made in heaven....eons ago. How long is an eon? I don't know but when you fold it all up it happens to be a breath away from now. I would guess that multiple eons is the breath we just exhaled. Last week I watched as those girls came into church. The youngest gleefully took off her coat, flung it into the air as high as she could and ran away. I think someone is quite comfortable now! I laughed at her uninhibited glee and lack of fear of reprimand for such a trivial thing. Dad picked up the coat and carried it. My heart pangs because it seems for me...there is always another shoe to drop...from a centipede who seems to never run out of them. I watched the other one walk confidently to Sunday School clutching God's words to her chest as if those words would molecularly bond with her body and become a part of her. The thing is...I am sure God saw to it those words did just that...His spirit words to her her spirit hunger.
I sat next to someone today who was the most important person in the building...at least to me. She has had ongoing issues ravage her mind and body. However God is amazing and she has come a long way. She has such a sweet spirit. Yet she is very depressed and has lost about 20 pounds. She didn't have it to lose. I found it but I can't give it back to her. She lives in her mothers house. Her mom has Alzheimers and is in a facility to be cared for. The house will likely need to be sold to help pay for expenses. She, like other depressed people, isolates herself. Today God had His eye on her, He was singing to her...because she couldn't sing the worship songs herself. I gave her the book opened to the right page and she smiled at me...yet didn't sing. She married not too long ago...to a man whose mind has been captivated by darkness and won't see the light. He is in prison but due to get out in some months. She is frightened, I am sure. I am not sure if they are still married but it doesn't really to matter. He is a threatening person. Many people are helping, reaching out, they know she is the most important person in church right now. She tends to dress goth, has tattoos...many are Christian themed, scriptures etc. Her clothes are loose and hair colored black and uncombed. A few years ago insensitive criticism about her appearance drove her away. I am happy she is back....so happy that God took care of that for her. Happy that kind, loving people can see her beauty and sweetness and followed Jesus urge, nay...command...to draw her back to Him and by default...to His healing.
At any moment when church is open, when people inhabit a place for God's glory...each of us is the most important person, all of us...to Him. We need to hear from God for Him to direct us concerning someone at that moment...and not just hear but to then act as Jesus hands, feet, gentle smile, nourishing words and healing presence. We don't know that man in the back row is struggling with pornography and ashamed to breath the word “help”. That lady with gray hair and a cane is still mourning the loss of a child that died in her womb more than a half century ago. She believes it has been so long that it is trivial now. She has believed that for a slightly shorter time than more than half a century. A young man appears to sit insolently quiet with a scowl on his face...he is thinking if he is brave enough to swallow those pills hidden in his sock drawer. All of these and many more are lost in one or more areas of their lives. They silently scream for redemption, for love, for forgiveness...everything God is and offers...and we should be...Him.
I write this and I am crying...I'm talking about myself too. Not only do I struggle deeply but I see others who do as well. Someone thought of me today...gave me some money...I was more excited they heard from God about and for me than the money. This person said it was a gift from God, to thank Him. So now...what do I do with His gift? I give it away. Thinking of a young couple that is going to find some money in their precious baby's diaper soon. I am laughing. Baby is pooping money. Better than the goose that laid the golden egg.
God gave me something this summer about what is of value. This is it.
Those things that are of value are eternal, all else fades and crumbles. What are they? The Word, Breath, Essence and Presence that is God and the souls of humanity that He created to please Him forever and ever.
This video expresses some of the need for reaching the lowest of the low.
Kings and Queens by Audio Adrenaline
A few more gifts I am grateful for: