We who preach and write, do so in a manner different from which the Scriptures have been written. We write while we make progress. We learn something new every day. We speak as we still knock for understanding...If anyone criticizes me when I have said what is right, he does me an injustice. But I would be more angry with the one who praises me and takes what I have written for Gospel truth than I would be with the one who criticizes me unfairly. -Augustine

The Least of These

How do you treat “the least of these?”

On the way to their favorite church camp, a group of teens and adult leaders were rudely interrupted by a dirty and smelly homeless man who approached their bus at a gas station.

He shared a sad, desperate story about his hunger and cold, begging for help. When the youth pastor suggested taking the man with them, the entire group thought he’d lost his mind.

That weekend the mood was tense, if not outright hostile. The girls’ cabin held a prayer service for their safety. The boys barely slept, always watching the homeless man with suspicion and distaste. Their only contributions to his welfare were an unwanted banana and a tract–which no one offered to explain.

On the final day of the retreat, the youth pastor revealed the poor man’s true identity–a friend who was simply pretending in order to see how the group would react. After a stunned silence, everyone began talking at once, trying to apologize and explain how they had intended to be more helpful and caring.

But they had missed the point completely. How often do we do the same when faced with someone we don’t like or feel uncomfortable around?

Matthew 25 recounts an important parable where Christ rewards those who are willing to care for the hungry, strangers, the sick and those in prison. He says: “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

Published in: on February 12, 2011 at 4:01 am  Leave a Comment  

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