Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” 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.” Then he will say to those at his left hand, “You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.” Then they also will answer, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?” – Matthew 25:34-44
Wow the past two weeks have been awesome. The lessons I have learned in spending time in the communities that we visited will remain with me for the rest of my life. They have affected my ministries in ways that I cannot begin to imagine. When I think of this trip I think of this passage in Matthew. Do we truly live up this passage? Do we really follow what Jesus is telling us to do here?
I saw people these past two weeks who are on the fringes of society. These people had no homes, no jobs, and no hope. However, 17 years ago a man cam into this community and gave these people something to hope for. He entered the community and created a family. A family that looks after each other. This man truly followed Jesus’ word. I have preached on this passage on many occasions as I have been on my walk with Christ and it was not until this trip where I felt that there is someone out there who actually follows the example of Jesus.
As a I think back on these two weeks I take away the desire to be more like what Jesus talks about here. I cannot sit idly by and allow this sort of travesty to happen to God’s people…but what does that look like for me?
I have teetered on the idea of planting a church, but nothing that looked like what Rising Hope is. I also know that I will more than likely be placed in a church that is already doing its own ministries. I think about these paths and continuing to keep in mind the people that I want to help. It is about searching these people out. It may come from just being more vigilant as you walk down the street or sometimes you may have to be intentionally looking for this lost and unseen section of society. However, we always need to be mindful that there are always people out there who need our help, and Jesus calls us to help them.
My plan of action is to never look past and glaze over the lost, but to always be there to help and support them. This is something I call all of us to reconsider. In my past I have been very active in homeless ministries. I helped serve meals at my home church. I brought lunches to homeless people in the park. I have even bought meals for some people while here in DC. However, none of that compared to the feelings I had on this trip. I always did the work and cared for them, but I feel like my care was not a care that Jesus would have been happy with. Jesus wants us to truly be authentic as we do his work (I am not saying I wasn’t I have just seen my mindset change from this trip). This is why I call us to take a serious look at how we help people.
I think that this trip should be a requirement for every person who is in the church. It is that eye opening. We spend all of our time in darkness that when we see the light we have no clue where to go. We shield ourselves from the reality of this community. We allow ourselves to remember we have an out a way to go home. I do not think this really hit me until the second Hypothermia Shelter night. AS I stayed over I was struck that this is there home. I can leave and sleep in my bed and be warm and cozy. These people can’t. They live in pain and trauma every day, and can’t escape it. In order to truly understand them we must give up what is holding us back. We need to surrender ourselves to what Jesus is telling us.
When we see the hungry do we give them food?
When we see the thirsty do we give them a drink?
When we see a stranger do we welcome them?
When we see someone naked do we give them clothes?
When we see the sick do we care for them?
When someone is in prison do we visit them?
We think how hard is it to do all of these things. Jesus does not call us to do them when it is convenient for us. he calls us to be doing this constantly.
“When you haven’t done it for the least of these you have not done it for me”
I saw Jesus in the people I met over this Immersion and now I truly know what I have done for the least of these I have done to and for him.