The least of them

By John Kaniecki

“And the king will answer them, ‘I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it for me” (Mathew 25:40 NET).

If one looks at this statement literally it is perhaps one of the most powerful statements in the Bible. That is, the way that you treat any human being is the way that you are treating Jesus. If Jesus came up to you and said “I’m hungry”, I am sure that you would give him all of the food that you had. But what about that drug-addicted man, dressed in rags, who is always begging by the side of the road. According to this scripture, there is no difference between the two.

Seeing Jesus everywhere you look will change your outlook on life in a dramatic way. He is your neighbor, the stranger, why, even your enemy. This sits right with our call to love everybody. In the accompanying passages of this parable, Jesus talks about feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, visiting the sick or those in prison, clothing the naked and taking in the stranger. All of these actions are visible, practical, and tangible demonstrations of love.

I am a full-time caregiver for my wife. As such, I cannot work a regular job, as she requires constant attention and care. I had a brother in Christ, who probably lives a mile away, say to me, “I’ll pray for you.” He knows both my situation and my needs but the best he can do is pray for me. He doesn’t visit and doesn’t call, let alone come and watch my wife to relieve me of my stressful duty for a few precious hours.

On the other hand, I’ve had sisters who came and cleaned my apartment. I’ve had brethren who watched my wife when I was in the hospital. I’ve had brethren who have brought me food and have given my wife clothes. I’ve had brethren who have watched my wife so I could go food shopping. I’ve had brethren call to check up on me and encourage me along the way.

Let me tell you that words are cheap. When I look back at my thirty years of Christianity, what stands out to me are those who demonstrated love to me. I can scarcely remember the sermons preached but I can vividly recall when somebody was there for me in a time of need.

As such, I want to help others out whenever and as often as I can. I look at every person as if they are Jesus and I “say how can I help?” Of course, I can never meet the needs of every single person I encounter within my life. Then again, Jesus didn’t heal all the lepers in Israel, or raise every dead corpse, did he?

Do as much good to as many as you can – that is the lesson for the day. “The one who is gracious to the poor lends to the Lord, and the Lord will repay him for his good deed” (Proverbs 19:17).

John Kaniecki served eight years as a voluntary missionary to the inner city of Newark, New Jersey with the Church at Chancellor Avenue. Now he is a full-time caregiver for his wife Sylvia and is a published writer and poet. You can see more of his work on his web page.

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