Scripture: Matthew 25:31-46
Key verse: (40) And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’
Reflection: One Sunday the congregation all gathered for worship as usual. But there was something missing — the pastor. As the eleven o’clock hour approached the congregation began to worry. No one had seen him that morning. No call. No update. No message. Five more minutes went by and still no sign of the pastor. Then the front door of the sanctuary opened, and in walked a man with tattered clothes and a ball cap. He walked down the center aisle of the Sanctuary until he came to the front chancel. He turned to the congregation and removed the cap from his head. It was the pastor. The pastor then read aloud this passage from Matthew and explained that he had been sitting out front of the church all morning. And to his surprise, very few people stopped to help.
Beyond this teaching moment, there are thousands of people in our community that struggle with daily living. Whether they are hungry, homeless, thirsty, or naked, we have neighbors that are “the least of these” as Jesus names them in today’s passage. The unborn child; the neglected youth; the prisoner; the person facing mental or physical challenges; refugees; the people struggling with the demands of each day — all are among “the least of these.” And Jesus is not saying these are lesser people, as if they are not as important as others. Jesus adds, I am them; whatever you do for one of them, you do for me. It is not for us to decide who is worthy of our care and compassion. It is for us to reach out a helping hand to extend God’s love. As Mother Teresa put it, “When we look into the face of one of them, we see the face of Jesus.”
Prayer: Lord, open my eyes to see your face in the faces of those in need, those who are struggling, and those disadvantaged. Help me to realize that whatever I do for people in need, we are doing it for you. Amen.
Author: Ben Brannan
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].