The Least of These…

I’ve been a little quiet the last couple of weeks. A scripture has kept running through my mind–the one in which Jesus is quoted as saying “If you have done it [given food or water, visited, etc.] to any of the least of these, you have done it to me.”

That’s always seemed kind of vague. How do we know when we’re doing something to help “any of the least”?

The last couple of weeks we’ve been beginning to learn, I think. We’ve been helping a young man who has made some mistakes in his past that have come back to haunt him. He’s rough around the edges–not necessarily someone I’d have reached out to…but he needed someone to stand up for him and believe in him.

So…he stayed with our son for a week (as long as our son’s lease would allow) and is currently sleeping on our couch until the issues can be resolved.

On a board I’m active on, a friend of mine said “Many people think they want to reach the lost, but get squeamish when they discover that the lost may not smell like them, may not look like them, may not speak like them, and may not have the same values as them.” The key is in recognizing that they are still children of God–my brothers and sisters.

Then last night I was able to attend an opera through the gift of another friend–it was part of the world premiere of a new work titled “John Brown.” The composer of the opera saw past the caricature that John Brown often is presented as–the saintly abolitionist or the crazy fanatic–and presented him as a real human being struggling with a very real issue that he saw as incredibly evil.

John Brown’s vision was in seeing those the world dismissed as “the least of these”…and living out his understanding of what the scriptures called him to do.

So…how do I do that?

Where are “the least of these” that I come in contact with? If I keep my eyes open, they’re all around. I can’t change the whole world–but I can help change my corner of it…one person at a time.

One thought on “The Least of These…

  1. This connection between this young man and yourself reminds me of the story of the starfish.

    A man walks the beach throwing stranded starfish back into the surf. When someone tries to explain the futility of that, he responds by throwing the next starfish into the ocean, and saying “I made a difference to that one”.

    Several times in my life I have been the “least”, and no one noticed, and if they did they did not take the risk to intercede. A few years ago someone did risk for me, and helped me until I could find my way. It has made all the difference for me. I will never be the same.

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