one of the least…
Last Sunday the lesson for the children was on the subject of “True Mercy” as told by Jesus in the passage of Matthew 25:31-41. As I read this passage during my preparation, I was grabbed by these few words:
“Then the righteous will answer him…….”
The word righteous is often used synonymously with the word “just”, simply put it is God’s very nature. His justice is the foundation of the universe and everything in it and it is not dependent on any external law or criteria. The injustice of the world is a result of people’s denial of His nature, the rejection of what is foundational in our being.
This passage is about the separation of the righteous and the unrighteous, and it is based on whether love is shown. It is about how we treat people who are in need and in distress , Jesus never qualified who deserves mercy, all He said is:
“whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
It is all about unconditional love wrapped in grace and mercy given to the ‘least’. It is not about seeking one’s self-entitlement in our own reputation or our own standard, it is about Christ-actualization…. reaching our full potential as we grow into Christlikeness.
As I prepared for my lesson, my favorite story came to my mind. It is based on the Russian folklore under the name ” Shoemaker’s dream” . It is about this shoemaker who dreamed that Jesus was going to drop by to visit. The next day while he worked, he looked out for his Guest, only to find a man who was cold, a woman who was hungry and a boy who was poor. As he took time to care for these people, he kept a keen look out for Jesus who disappointingly never showed up. He dreamed again that night and Jesus told him how much he enjoyed the visit with the shoemaker that day. Unknown to the shoemaker, He was with the poor, the hungry and the needy. This story warmed my heart again, for it never failed to challenge me to think of my own action in caring for the “least” and most of all what it really means to love my neighbor.
The Lord does have His own way to teach me, as if to drive this point home He made me the recipient of a random act of kindness. On my way to church to “teach” this lesson, I stopped off at my local coffee shop for my regular coffee run. The barista who usually serves me was on his break, as he saw me lining up behind him ,without a word ,he bought me and my passenger our coffee out of his pocket.
“Just because…..” that’s all he said.
His kindness touched me deeply, and as I drove to church I thought about how good it feels to be the receiving end, and how much I need to bless others by my own act of kindness. That’s exactly what He wants of me, nothing fancy or grandeur…
act justly and love mercy….
and caring those who are in need without questioning….