Jesus said in Matthew, ” “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.’
The least of these? He’s talking about the poor and destitute. Those who are without. It’s interesting to note here that, he didn’t make any judgement reservations about how “the least of these” came to be in their circumstances. He simply identified himself with them, put His self in their place. What He’s saying here is, the way we treat the unfortunate is not hidden from him.
We all want to think we are good people. How many of us have walked past a homeless person on the street and turned our heads so we wouldn’t have to acknowledge them? Or, how about when the panhandler approaches you for some spare change, we have all told that little white lie. You know the one, “Sorry, I dont have any money.” When, what you really meant was, “I don’t have any money for you.”
If we are faced with this “social” problem often enough we begin to develop justifications to ease our burdening conscience. Things like,“he’s just going to take the money and buy beer and alcohol.” We convince ourselves we are actually doing the poor soul a favor by denying him a few dollars that he “says” will be used to by a sandwich or what not.
We get to be real good at making ourselves feel better about our wrongdoing. Yes, I said it again, wrongdoing. If we claim to be Christians we cannot pick and choose which of His words we are going to accept and which we are not. We can’t water down the example He gave for us. If we deny the poor, we are wrong. If we overlook the poor, we are wrong.
The Apostle John wrote in his gospel, “The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”
Three times, three times! Jesus repeated the question to Simon Peter, “Do you love me?” Each and every time Peter answered in the affirmative,”Yes Lord” Then, after each of Peter’s affirmations the Lord told Him, “Feed my sheep.” Here again, we Christians have that tendency to re-interpret His words to ameliorate our guilt. “Oh no,” we say, “He’s talking about feeding them spiritually.”
Let me ask you something. Have you ever gone to church on a Sunday morning after missing breakfast? It can be pretty hard to be satisfied spiritually with an empty stomach. Now, imagine if you were really starving. That you have not had anything to eat in days. Which interpretation of “feed my sheep” are you going to be interested in?
In my recent times of need, I have gone to different churches for help. Everyone that I approached informed me that they refer all of their benevolence request to community agencies. The reason given, every time, “the church can’t afford it.” Believe me, I understand that times are hard and there are record numbers of poor needing assistance. If the church can’t afford to take care of the poor then how do they keep the doors open? I don’t recall anywhere in scripture where Jesus told any of His disciples to refer the poor to The United Way.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to put down the Church. I just want to get us all to thinking in the right way. Jesus said in Luke,
Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. Luke 6:38 NIV
He meant for each of us to have faith in Him, not in the money in our pocket. If we put Him first and do as He says, He will not only replace what we give, he’ll multiply it. Sounds like a good deal to me. If Jesus appeared to you, like He did the Apostle Paul on the road to Damascus, I imagine you would pretty much do anything he told you to with a quick, “sir, yes sir!”
Unfortunately, that would remove the element of faith and that is what our entire belief system is based on.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6 NIV
What is faith? I answered that question in my last issue but, it bears repeating.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 NIV
I know you may find this hard to believe, but I do have some who believe I am out for myself and just trying to line my own pockets. It makes me sad when I hear comments like that. Yes, I do have to survive. I don’t want to be homeless forever. If I could work, I would be. If I could find a paying job that I could do from a hospital bed I would be all over it. I believe, that means I live by faith and not by sight. I know that God will provide all your needs (and mine) according to His riches in glory. One of the ways we glorify God is by doing what he tells us and He has told us time and again to take care of those in need.
Those of you who support me and provide for my needs are not only helping one person, you are also making it possible for me to help others. That is the soul focus (pun intended) of Mariposa Ministries, to provide for the needs of others. Along the way, my needs will be met too. So, here I am, the least of these. I need your help to help others. I’m starting a brand new ministry. I revealed some of the vision for this in my last issue. I will be revealing more next week.
I am praying that not only my words, but God’s words as well, reach your heart and motivate you to give. Not only of your finances but your prayers and your time as well. There is much work to be done. The government says there are over 670,000 U.S. Citizens that are homeless and one-third of those here in Florida. Mariposa is going to make a way for the homeless to regain their place in society. Won’t you join me in rescuing, “the least of these?”
Well, that’s all the Bible study for this week. It will interesting to see the statistics on this issue. We are provided information, in detail, about those that read these blogs. Everything except your name and email address. If you choose to leave those in comments, I will see to it you have the opportunity to get involved. So far, you have all preferred the “foxhole” stories. Don’t worry, there are plenty more of those to come. “The Story That’s Too Hard To Tell” is a long way from ending. It’s an ongoing story for as long as there are those who are left behind in life, there will be stories to tell.
My next issue will speak to the spiritual side of homelessness from the other direction. I’ll attempt to show how a relationship with God is the only way to survive the streets. “The Story That’s Too Hard To Tell” is a long way from ending. It’s an ongoing story for as long as there are those who are left behind in life, there will be stories to tell.
God bless you all. Leave comments and click on the ad at the bottom of the blog to go to my donation site. When you get there, pull out the plastic and send me some money. Let’s get to work and show God we mean business and we take His word seriously.