What you are going to find on this blog: my thoughts (sometimes raw), my heart (spilling out), my honesty (maybe shocking), my ramblings (sometimes quite rambly!), my Jesus...especially that last one.

What you are not going to find: Platitudes (yuck), quick fixes (they don't exist), someone who acts like she has it all together...because I definitely DON'T!

I started this blog because I know the depths of muck in my own heart and the twistedness of my own thinking...and as I talked through my struggles with others I realized that I am not alone. So I promise to be honest with you, even if I think you aren't going to like me any more if I reveal the "real me." So if you want to keep thinking that I am a "nice" person, don't read my blog because I am not a nice person. But I am a redeemed person, saved by grace, for which I am eternally grateful.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Least of These...

This is such a familiar passage that I'd be insulting your intelligence and Bible knowledge if I quote it, but I'll risk it and go ahead and insult you.  I've got some vinegar in me today :).

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.’  (Matthew 25:34-40)

Who are "the least of these" anyway?  The obvious answer is right in the passage...it is those who are hungry, those who are thirsty, those who are strangers, those who need clothes, those who are sick or in prison.  It is  easy to see "the least of these" as the people who are marginalized by our society...the homeless, the drug addicts, the prostitutes...those who would be considered the dregs of society.  Yep, these are "the least of these," and we are called to serve them. In serving them, we are serving Jesus.

But we dig a little deeper.  If we are honest, many of us would also include the maid who cleans our hotel room, the chauffeur who takes our keys and parks our car, the people on the "People of Wal Mart" website.  While we might be polite to them to their faces (though sadly, not always), we ridicule and poke fun at them (and take pictures of them with our iPhones and post them online so the whole world can make fun of them too) the second they have their backs turned.  Yep, these are "the least of these" as well, and we are called to serve them.  In serving them, we are serving Jesus.

I consider those above pretty obvious.  But what about the CEO of the big company whose marriage is falling apart because of the long hours he's working?  What about that nice family at church that is struggling to pay their house payment and is in danger of losing their home?  What about the people who confess to struggling with secret sins?  We might be good at hiding our judgmental attitudes, but when it comes down to it we consider ourselves better, more enlightened, good Christian examples.  I think that these fall into the category of "the least of these" as well, and we are called to serve them.  In serving them, we are serving Jesus.

And what about those who are just really good at putting on a cheerful face while they mask the pain and hurt and sin they are struggling with?  What about those who go to church week after week but don't know who Jesus is?  What about those who are truly desiring to serve God and know they don't have it all together?  What about them?  Are they "the least of these" as well?  You know that they are, and we are called to serve them.  In serving them, we are serving Jesus.

What about those who live in developing countries?  Yep.  AIDS orphans?  Yep.  Politicians?  Ummm...yep.  What about ______________?  Yep, them too!  Again, in serving them, we are serving Jesus.

But what about me?  Me?  Well, this me is the one called to go and serve "the least of these," right?  I mean, that makes me something other than "the least of these," right?  Nope.  That puts me smack-dab in the middle of "the least of these."  Why do I think that I somehow am not included when everyone else is?  My best answer is that my own disgusting pride places values on people.  I place people into categories... those who were dealt a raw hand in life, those who made bad choices to get them where they are, those who don't have life figured out yet, those who look different/act different...and I place myself above every single category.  They are the least of these.  I am more than these.  Just seeing these words on the screen make me feel sick to my stomach at my own backward thinking.  But I can't erase them because they are true.

So I have come up with a new definition to "the least of these:  "those whom Jesus has died for."  Did He die for the crack-addict?  Yep.  The prostitute?  Yep.  The "People of Wal Mart?"  An emphatic yep.  The maid?  The CEO?  The cheerful-face people?  Yep, yep, yep.  Me?  Yes, He died for me.   That means that I don't have any right to put myself above anyone else.  I don't have any right to consider ANYONE as lesser than myself.  I don't have any right to make fun of people that Jesus died for, for in making fun of them, I am making fun of Jesus.  And of course, I would never knowingly do that.  But I have.  And I am sorry to say that I still do.  

But I will say it one last time, lest I have been unclear.  My value to Jesus is EXACTLY the same as the value of the crack addict.  EXACTLY the same as the prostitute, the people of Wal Mart. EXACTLY the same.  We are all souls that Jesus died for, loves, and longs to draw to Himself.  

Joy, get over yourself:  I am the least of the least of these.  


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