FAMILYCOMMUNITY INSPIRATION RESOURCES PARTNERS

When?
 
By: Tom Norvell

Vol. 17 No. 02 | January 12, 2015

On Sunday morning I preached from the judgement scene passage from Matthew 25:31-46. I admitted that every time I dwell for very long on this passage I become angry, sad, disappointed, and discouraged because we so often fall short of ministering to the least of these as the sheep are rewarded for doing.

During my sermon I included this piece of writing that I have periodically read and shared in various settings for forty years.

You Seem So Holy
I was hungry, and you formed a humanities group to discuss my hunger.
I was imprisoned, and you crept off to your chapel and prayed for my released.
I was naked, and in your mind you debate the morality of my appearance.
I was sick, and you knelt and thanked God for your health.
I was homeless, and you preached to me of the spiritual shelter of the love of God.
I was lonely, and you left me alone to pray for me.
You seem so holy, so close to God
But I am still very hungry and lonely and cold.

[Anonymous]

My challenge to the assembly and my challenge to this electronic congregation is when?

When will we God's people realize that taking care of the least of these...the hungry, the lonely, the helpless, and those in bondage?

When will we God's people realize that our work is not about bigger buildings, deeper pockets, more elaborate programming, or larger numbers in our assemblies?

When will we God's people realize that our mission field is lost people, not people of faith who are attached to a community of faith that goes by a name different than ours?

When will we God's people acknowledge that we tend to be easily distracted from our purpose by trying to do too much, build a reputation, or gain political influence?

When will we God's people understand that turning on our lights, providing comfortable seating, and setting out coffee and donuts is not all there is to ministering to the least of these?

When will we God's people realize that demanding that the Ten Commandments be posted in public places, complaining about prayer being unlawful in public schools, protesting outside abortion clinics is not the same as feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, and spending time with a lonely person?

When will we God's people realize that ministering to the least of these means that it doesn't matter how they are dressed, how the smell, the kind of language the may use, or the amount of ink on their body?

When will we God's people understand that ministering to the least of these is not limited exclusively to ministers, priests, clergy, elders, deacons, and credentialed professionals?

When will we God's people realize that ministering to the least of these may require us to interact with people of another color, another culture, or another political party.

When will we God's people realize that ministering to the least of these may involve sacrifice, inconvenience, and unpleasantness, not merely writing a check or dropping some cash in a basket.

When will we God's people realize that ministering to the least of these is not our legal obligation that insures our ticket into heaven, but the natural response to being counted as one of God's children.

When will we God's people realize that ministering to the least of these is the same as ministering to Jesus and is the same thing that Jesus did and would do if He were here today.

When?

Soon I hope.

Tom


Copyright 2015 Tom Norvell. All rights reserved.



 

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