And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ (Mt. 25:41)
I’m aware I often write about my experiences at the jail. I go to the jail for several reasons.
First, I go hoping to be helpful to the inmates. Second, because I want to be better informed about what they go through. Third, because I trust that when we reach out to “one of the least of these” we’ll be serving Jesus. Simply put: I go to serve Jesus, meet Jesus, and hear Jesus.
I encourage you to find the person or group where you can meet Jesus in “the least of these.” Maybe it’s at the jail. Maybe it’s serving at a soup kitchen or shelter. Maybe it’s becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister. Maybe it’s becoming a hospital visitor. Maybe it’s joining a Habitat for Humanity team. It doesn’t matter where you serve. What matters is that you do.
If we think we don’t have enough time to reach out to the least, lost, and lonely, we need to look at our heart and at how we use our time. About our heart: Is our protest about not having enough time a cover for not wanting to deal with those less fortunate? About our time: Are our priorities the ones Jesus desires?
As we reach out to the “least of these,” I encourage us to acknowledge that we’re also among the “least of these.” When we forget that we’re among the lost, lonely, and least, we might be tempted to think we’re better than others. But when we remember that we’re reaching out to others as a sometimes needy and broken child of God, we will treat them as our brothers and sisters.
If identifying with the “least of these” sounds challenging, even off-putting, please remember that Jesus identified with this crowd—which is the whole human condition—when He came to this earth. If we truly believe in Him, we are called to follow His lead.
- How do you respond to Jesus’ call for you to reach out to the “least of these?”
- If you respond positively to Jesus’ call to serve, whom have you served or whom do you need to serve? If negatively, what will help you to work through your reluctance or resistance?
- Do you understand that you, too, are among the “least of these?” How are you least, that is, how are you broken or lost or lonely? Can you see how Jesus wants to reach out to and touch those places in your life?