“I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for the least of these, you did not do for me.” Matthew 25:45
I remember reading this verse as a kid and getting this shivery feeling. It has always left me questioning who exactly the least of these are.
It’s easy to love the lovable and to give time to someone who appreciates it. When Jesus was talking about the least of these, I guarantee he wasn’t talking about the people that are our best friends. Perhaps its the least in society, those who are looked down on and judged for the way they life their life. But I think he’s also nudging us towards the “least” in our books. You know, the people who really have the gift at bringing out our irritated side.
Giving my attention to the poor and needy isn’t a challenge for me. I love it! Stick me in the poorest village or with the Dalits in India and I’d be set for life. Even though these would be a lot of people’s least. They aren’t mine. These are the people I look up to and see Jesus in. Then there’s the demanding customers at work, the people that make me want to walk on the other side of the street so I can avoid eye contact with them, the ones that make me go, “Really? Them?” That’s when I know I’ve found my “least.”
It’s learning to love the people that challenge you the most, that make you feel stretched out. View the person who gets on your nerves the most as Jesus. (Thinking about that now makes me go “But WHY!!!!” on the inside!)
“True love requires sacrifice. Our love is shown by how we life our lives.”
In the latest chapter, Francis talks about the love of God and how we typically view God. We have this box that we put God in when we view him. Each one of us has some type of vision of how God is that’s messed up and most of the time, it’s because of our own insecurities that we have in ourselves or the relationship we have with other people. Especially when it comes to people of authority.
I view God as a Dad. I’ve always had a healthy relationship with my dad. He’s always been there for me through everything, providing encouragement, assurance…really anything I needed. If there was a need in my life I know my dad would do anything he could to help me. He’s provided me a healthy view of a father. No, he’s not perfect but in my eyes, he’s everything a dad should ever be. But there’s this level of fear in my relationship with my dad. It’s not something he has caused, but rather something I have developed. There’s no way I could bring up in any form of how I’ve messed up in life to my dad. Although he knows I’m not perfect, I’d much rather hide and not say anything. My fear is that he’ll be disappointed and even though that won’t change our relationship, the last thing I want ever is to disappoint my dad. (Even though he ALWAYS knew when I was hiding something or something was up…)
That’s exactly how I am with God. As soon as I mess up, my tendency is to hide and ignore his probing for me to give it up and just talk to him. I don’t want to disappoint God. Which is stupid in a way because first off, good luck hiding stuff from God. Secondly, God’s love is unable to grasp! There’s nothing we can do to separate us from it. Nothing. Even if we push it away with everything in us, he’s still there with his overwhelming love.
And it blows my mind every time I open myself up and realize how much he just wants to love me…
“The truth is some people waste their lives. This isn’t meant to bash those who are gone, but to warn those who are alive.”
Touchy subject death is. You talk about it and the majourity of the response you get is the listener squirming in their seats. It’s not a comfortable topic for any one. Then we hear crazy stories that happen daily, reminding us of what James wrote in chapter 4.
“You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”
Okay. Nobody wants to think that. It’s just straight up depression. Who wants to think of being gone completely from this earth and then eventually forgotten? I can’t envision crowds of hands rising at that question.
We all know we’re going to die. It could happen any moment. We all know it, but we don’t live as if it were true. If we did, this world would be different.
Think about how much worry and stress takes over our lives in North American culture. It runs it. It takes over our main focus and when it’s there, it pushes God out of our main sight and puts him on the back burner.
One thing I’m continuously learning is that God should not be on the back burner. Realizing this and making God the center changes everything. It will change the way we think, talk, act… we shouldn’t live and blend in with the craziness. Rather we should be standing apart and taking time to love and slow down the pace and make our life revolved around how Jesus came to show us how to live.
Life’s a gift. Are we really acting like it is? Or are we just waiting around, not really paying attention?
Without knowing it, we’re wasting time away . . .