Monday, October 7, 2013

Starving Jesus

The Sheep and the Goats

Matthew 25:31 - 46

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “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.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.

When it comes to Jesus' directions to us as his followers this passage is just as direct as his command that we love out neighbor. Truly, if we love our neighbor we will help them when they are in need.

I have to be honest with you and acknowledge my bias because I have never been able to understand why a person or a people would not feed those who are hungry, help those who need housing, care for those who are sick and love and offer compassion to those who are in prison. I just don't get it. What does it take for us to ignore the needs of our fellow man? When we do we are undoubtedly the Levi or the Priest, for surely we are not being the Good Samaritan when we ignore and walk on the other side of the road when we see someone in need.

Besides the direct command in this verse to care for those in need Jesus shows us where we can find him. If you want to be about the business of sharing God's love then you need to go where Jesus is.

Today we can find Jesus with people who are without a job or underemployed. Today we can find Jesus with people who have no home. Jesus is with those who are on government assistance and also with people who are sick whether in the hospital or not. Jesus is with the many children and families who are victims of Human trafficking and with the person who is undocumented. Jesus is with people who are currently vilified by those in government and American citizens.

Putting politics aside, those of us who claim a belief in Jesus Christ need to not only be with the people Jesus is with but also advocating for support that they so desperately need. When we sit comfortably in our homes and enjoy the blessings God has given us and not be a blessing to others we will be the ones that God turns away from as this passage in Matthew states. I think that we who follow Christ forget that we will still stand before God, when die or when Jesus returns, and account for our lives.

Do you want God to know you as the one who served the "least of these" or one who ignored them? Many people fall on hard times, I have myself, but that last thing we need to do is vilify those who are in need of our help or the governments help.

I hear many people talk about how we need to get back to the Christian principles that this country was founded on. If people really mean that then we need to embrace Matthew 25:31-46 and make sure that we as a country feed the hungry, clothe the naked, house the homeless, welcome the undocumented person, ensure care for those who are sick and show compassion to those who are in prison.

If that is what people mean then I welcome it.

If you want to test your knowledge on Hunger in America click on this LINK
You can also see current statistics people who live in food insecure homes.

To see what CBF churches and Field Personnel are doing to combat hunger in America click on this link and read blogs submitted by people who are reaching people by feeding them.