Reaching the least of these shouldn’t have been easy—and that’s how I liked my world. I had convinced myself that was what God wanted for my world too. I was doing lots of things, really good things for Him. I was busy, serving within the four walls of my church. It was easy for the most part. It felt good. But in the summer of 2012 God wanted to grow me up spiritually, taking me on a journey unlike anything I’d ever been on.
He wrecked me, bringing up the least over and over again in everything I was reading, hearing, and seeing. I would read Matthew 25:34-36 where Jesus is telling the people about what it is going to be like when He returns. Here he mentions two groups of people: those who obey him and those who don’t. To those who follow Him, He says:
"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. 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, 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.’ But the people get confused and ask, 'When did we ever do those things for you, Jesus?' To which He replies, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'”
For me, that was a difficult passage to digest, seemingly too hard to actually do and uncomfortable to really live out. And so I began to have a dialogue with God about what I thought He really meant to say. It went something like this:
Me: God, I think when you say hungry, thirsty and such, you really mean those who are spiritually or emotionally in that state. So, technically, I’m serving people who are spiritually “hungry” and “thirsty” so we are good then! (Lift hand for celebratory high five) God: (shakes his head) No, I’m being literal here. Me: Like literal literal or like figurative? God: Like literal literal. Me: Ok, but I don’t think you understand. I’m pretty busy doing stuff. Good stuff. Stuff for you stuff. I don’t really have the time, and besides, look around me. I don’t exactly know a lot of hungry, thirsty, strangers in need. God: Exactly.
God had my attention and now the ball was in my court. Could I find the least in my insulated, secure, Christian world and would I even have the time and ability to serve them wholeheartedly? Or would I just fall back to my old ways of just blessing the blessed? That’s when His perfect plan in my life really started to get interesting…
To read more on Catherine’s journey, join us back here next week for, When serving becomes uncomfortable, unpredictable, messy.