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Friday, December 14, 2012

For the "Least of These"

It is easy to look past people. There are so many. They can blend in with the scenery and you will never notice them. They go to work with us and live next to us. They cross the streets as we wait. They sit next to us on planes, theaters and football stadiums. And, too often, we never notice them.

Sometimes they come to our churches. We greet them without any concern.

I taught a group of people at one of the churches I served to ask a simple question of those who came to church for the first time. I taught them to say, "We believe people come to church because of a need. We would like to help you with your need. Is there anything you would like us to pray with you about?"

And, amazingly, they told us.

Some of the people who started doing this regularly decided to take it outside the church. They went to a restaurant after church and said to their waiter, "You have served us, so now we would like to serve you. Is there any need you have we can pray for?"

At first, the waiter said, "No."

I believe he was shocked and didn't know how to answer. He left but came back and gave them a need they could pray for.

This same waiter brought most of the wait staff by their table the next time they came to the restaurant. Each one had a prayer request. (And they got excellent service too!)

How many times do we look past people and fail to realize that we can do something for them? We can pray. We can welcome. We can give them a glass of water.

Is this important for us? Is what we do with others important to our Lord?

Most Christians simply do not get this:

When we do it for those who are the least, we are doing it for the Lord.

Let those who have eyes see those who are blending into the scenery.

Matthew 25:31-46 (ESV) 31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
   41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

2 comments:

Deb Willbefree said...

Powerful.

high-expressions.blogspot.com said...

Is it "strange" or what, of late, I find that some of the texts, you are making entries here, with, they coincided with my texts I used for my own preaching (this, I presently do, once a month), and my writings.  Even more strange is that I also find that my Senior Pastor also happened to use such texts or points of arguments around the same time, in fact, uncannily ( although, I would not say it is unsettling), he would preach them shortly after I preached about them or wrote about them.

The text you used, from the narrative of Who are the sheep and who are the goats, I just used them in my recent Divine healing meeting's message.

Indeed, it is we have to love God, and when we love God, we have to love our neighbors and brethrens; and when we love, Scripture said, we cannot just love in words without actions (1 John 3:18).  Then, there is the understanding we are to embrace, that what we do, we are to do as unto the Lord (Rom 14:6; Col 3:23). Also to understand is that we are extensions of Jesus, meaning, Jesus, now that He is no longer a man walking the earth, but is seated with the Father in Heaven, wants to work through us.  One thing staring at us when we read of Jesus' life when He was walking the earth, is that He cared; He stopped for people.  In fact there was an account recorded that many were upset with the blind Bartimaeus "pestering" Jesus, but Jesus stopped to find out the need of the person, and went on to restore his sight. 

Do you care? Do you stop for another? Don't say what can I do, I am no Jesus? No, no one expects you to be Jesus, as such; but there is one thing we all can do, and that is that, we can pray for people. 

Ps Prentis, I have been hearing of such simple gesture of asking if the person before us, be he/she a waiter/waitress or hairdresser or colleague, has any need that we can pray for him/her and subsequently doing that, praying for him/her impromptu, vyielded goodwill, to say the least, and there have been many testimonies of God ministering to people when we care that way, in our daily routine lives.  Yes, I should do that more, and we should encourage more believers to do that, as matter of daily routine living.  But of course, it will not come quite easily, if the believer, himself/herself, does not routinely pray for his/her own need situations, because he/she believes not, God would be bothered! Encourage people to do both, pray for their own needs, and the needs of other people.

Of course, additionally, even if our own needs are not met by our own prayers directly, it still should not stop us from praying for other people. God wants us to learn to bear one another up, and so, at times, it is possible,  God delays the answering of our prayers for ourselves until we allow ourselves to be prayed for. We need always to be humble, and not to think of ourselves more highly than we should be.  It is possible that pride in us, holds us back from wanting prayers from another. For and as believers, we need to address that - pride. Pride hinders prayers.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions