October 17, 2011

The Least of These

“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.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." (Matthew 25:34-40)
Ever watched something that just socks you in the gut like a ton of bricks? I did just this last week. It was a video clip of Narayanan Krishnan. Kirshnan is a chef in India, who is going against everything his culture has taught him about people, to serve those around him who are despised and rejected and and literally left to die on the streets. Kirshnan is not a Christian. Yet what he says and does is truly one of the most beautiful examples I have ever seen of what the love of Christ - and being a Christian - is all about. Please watch with me...

(Please do not watch the whole video - it is only applicable until 3:06.)

If you cannot see video, please go HERE.

Wow, huh. I watched this with my 12 year old son and we sat in stunned silence after it finished - tears running down my face (with his eyes looking pretty watery, too.) Choking back a sob, I told my son, "Isaac, that is what the love of Christ should look like. That is how we should be loving people. And when we don't, we are failing them and we are failing God."

We need to be loving people. Everywhere. All the time. Right where we are.

Krishan asks, "What is our purpose?"  Our purpose, as Christians, is to be the hands and feet of Christ.  Are we doing it? 

No, we may not have beggars living in the street in front of our house but there are people all around that need us. Sometimes it might be a hot meal, sometimes a warm coat, sometimes just a long hug and an offer for coffee...but it's something. We need to do something to make a difference in the world around us. We need to stop worrying about our houses and cars and whether or not we have the latest techno-gadget. And we need to start worrying about something that really matters.

Like the single mom parent down the street.
Or our son's best friend - that for some reason would much rather live at our house than his own.
Or the co-worker who, lately, for some unspoken reason, just looks so tired all the time.

Look around you - they are just waiting for you to do - or say - something.

And we may not live in India, or El Salvador, or Thailand...but we can still make a difference there, too. I do not think it was any coincidence that, the same day we watched this video, our favorite Christmas catalog came in the mail. Not the Sears Big Book, or the Fleet Farm Toyland Catalog or even the Green Bay Packer Dream catalog. No, it is this:

In this post from last year, I talked about our love for the Samaritan's Purse Christmas catalog. This year, after watching the above video, I couldn't wait to dig through it - but I gave it to Isaac first. He paged through it for quite a while before making his choices - then it was Colin's turn. When they were done, their shopping list looked like this:

Household Water Filter (Isaac)
Life-Saving Mosquito Nets (Isaac)
Introducing Girls & Boys to God's Word (Colin)
Baby Chicks (Colin)

What a great list! I was so proud of their choices. I haven't finalized my choices yet - there are so many options and I truly wish that I could pick them all. (But we are not asked to do it all, we are just asked to do what we can.)

We are also getting ready to pack up our shoe boxes for Operation Christmas child. I also talked about this project last year. This is such an easy - but fun - project for the whole family. I don't think we can ever comprehend what a difference we make by just by putting some small gifts, daily essentials and love into a shoebox that is shipped to a child in a country we might even know about.  It is a small thing for us but we are helping to make a difference in the life of a child.

Christmas is not the only time of the year that we should be reaching out to those in need - but this year, let it be the beginning of a lifestyle of giving.  We can make a difference.  We need to make a difference.  And we can - one person at a time.

And there are benefits for us, too. While reaching out to his culture's untouchables, Krishan discovered something along the way: the joy of giving. He sacrificed money, time and even reputation (ahem) to bring love, compassion and dignity to these people and he was rewarded with something that money could never buy - true, deep, unexpected joy. 

"Food is one part; love is another part." - Narayanan Krishan
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress..." James 1:27

Help me make a difference!  Please check out Samaritan's Purse and Operation Christmas Child.  If you purchase something out of the Samaritan's Catalog, I would LOVE to hear what you got - please comment below!

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