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Tavern Talk #37: The Least of These


The Least of These


Christians struggle with being Christians – Christ followers. While it is easy to become a Christian, it’s hard to do those things that we should do.


We talk a a lot about the two greatest commandments – love God and love your neighbor. But it’s actually even more difficult than that. While loving our neighbor is tough enough, Christ commands us to put that love into action – we must do for our neighbors. Now, good deeds won’t get you to heaven. Only grace will. But we will be measured by how we love others. And don’t we want to anyway?


Christ talks about feeding the hungry, providing drink to the thirsty, clothing those who need it, welcoming in strangers, caring for the sick, and visiting the imprisoned. But that was in the context of First Century Palestine. What does that mean today?


Today, Christ’s challenge is the minimum standard. We have people in our communities and in our society that are hungry for more than food, thirsty for more than water, and who need to be clothed in more than simply a new wardrobe to be accepted. And there are those whose suffering requires more than medicine or healing. And we find many imprisoned by a lifestyle, by choices, and by circumstances that exist well beyond prison walls. Christ commandment requires us to do and everything he instructed us to do requires giving of ourself and our resources – sharing.


And we do it not just for our neighbors, but those who we view as the least of these. Society may have a few of the least of these. Heck, we may be who society views as the least of these. But, what Jesus instructed was for us to demonstrate our love to those who WE view as the least of these. Those with whom we have profound disagreements. Those who view or lifestyle we vehemently oppose. Those who don’t deserve our help and those who don’t appreciate it. We must demonstrate the same grace that we enjoy.


Jesus never said it would be easy. In fact, he says that his brothers and sisters will suffer – they are the ones who will be hungry, thirsty, exposed, strangers, sick, and imprisoned. But our charge is to help them – to help everyone. Through love in action.


Readings:


Matthew 25: 31-46