Today’s Journey Through the Scriptures Readings
Leviticus 8-10; Matthew 25:31-46
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Get away from me, you who will receive terrible things. Go into the unending fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 I was hungry and you didn’t give me food to eat. I was thirsty and you didn’t give me anything to drink. 43 I was a stranger and you didn’t welcome me. I was naked and you didn’t give me clothes to wear. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me (Matthew 25:41-43, Common English Bible).
Every time I read “The Judgement of the Nations,” aka “The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:31-46) I start to feel guilty. Here is why. Last Saturday, Cindy and I were out doing some running around. We had things that needed to be done. As we were stopping at a traffic light, we encountered a sight that has become all too common in our society. There was a woman walking from car to car, her little cardboard sign in hand that said, “Single mom, need help, rent due, need food, need a job” or words to that effect.
When I started looking around the intersection, there was a woman, carrying a sign that said much the same thing. I never give folks like this money. Authorities on homelessness say giving money is the worst thing you can do for them. I often try to keep a little food something in the car just for this purpose. Saturday we just kept driving.
Jesus didn’t say that under some circumstances you can just walk away from need. Well, in my care I drove away. Because these women said they were alone with their kids, having no visible means of support, did I have a responsibility? Did I have an opportunity to serve? I think I did and I let it pass me by. Sure, I shouldn’t give them money but I should have also looked for another way.
Back in my seminary days, I was riding in Dallas with my friend Marty. We were at an intersection much like I was last Saturday. There was a man with a similar sign. Marty stopped the car, got out, asked the guy if he wanted to get something to eat. He said he did, got in the car and we drove to the closest grocery store, where Marty proceeded to buy the man some groceries. Marty found a way and would be one of those on the right.
That day, I was one of those on the left? I failed in my calling at that moment. Jesus says that for those of us who fail, unending fire is the end result. Wow! Is there any hope for me?
Yes! There is hope. As I think about it, I would think there are very few of us who have not, at some point walked/drove past just such a person. Even if we have not, there is something in our lives that keep us from reaching the Kingdom. That something? That something is grace. We all need it and often don’t realize we have failed and whether the people begging on the streets are ignored by us or some other sin, we are all in need of God’s grace.
So, I will take what I have, realizing I will never be alone. I may mess up. I may fall down. But in the end, grace will pick me up and move me further on my way.
Is there any hope for me? Praise God, yes! There is hope among all those gifts. Perhaps I need to remember that God is present and where God is, there is always room for hope.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
With Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved