Do it as if you are serving the LORD!
Colossians 3:23 (ESV) And whatever you do, do it heartily, as unto they Lord, and not unto men
I see different variations of this story from time to time where a new pastor will come into a church that has not been introduced to him. The announcement is made to all the church family, this announcement has really been promoted so that lapsed members, people who only come on Christmas and Easter can get the chance to be there for the “new guys” first sermon, create a good impression and let’s try to get a full house.i
Anyways, just before (maybe about 20 minutes) the service starts, a down and out homeless figure appears on the steps to the church, stinking of urine and alcohol. The church elders, rather than helping the guy, maybe help him to sober up, maybe invite him to church? They try to shoo him off. Maybe the sight of him may upset the folks who don’t often come, or maybe the new pastor. The homeless guy hangs around, tries to speak to the folks coming in, not begging, just saying hello, and passing the time, out on the street, outside the church gates.
The people by in large don’t talk to him, seem embarrassed to be there. Some are nasty, some cross over the street to avoid even passing by the smell coming off this guy. Everyone fills into the church; he maybe has had a kind look from about maybe 1% of the congregation. (Never mind some actual dialogue)
He shuffles up the steps in his broken shoes and shuffles towards the door of the church, the briefest of handshakes happen between the elder to tried to escort him off the premises, decides not to cause a scene and tries to sit him at the back out of the way with about 2 benches segregating him from the nearest “God-fearing” parishioner. The man decides he wishes to sit with the people in the middle of the church. Again, not wishing to cause a scene, the elders allow the man to not be impeded.
The final insult occurs when he sits next to this well dressed family, who when they smelled what was coming off his clothes, got up and moved elsewhere. The church is getting rather anxious, the previous pastor used to be behind the lectern prior to the first hymn beginning. An elder (who wasn’t involved in the door issue) leads the congregation in the first hymn.
The same elder asks the congregation to give a round of applause for the new pastor who shocks the congregation by standing up in the body of the church, the “new guy” is the homeless man, the new pastor walks to the front of the church, takes off the stained clothes to reveal a shirt, tie and clean trousers. He replaces his “homeless shoes’ with his own shoes and begins to address the crowd.
He teaches on “The Good Samaritan” and also on forgiveness, because he saw the “non-Church” “non-Sunday” side of many of his new parishioners, they viewed him through societies eyes, rather than through the eyes of Jesus. There was no love, no compassion and he knew what word God had sent him to do there as a new pastor.
Before we all get on our moral high horse and state “I would never do that!” We all have our hot buttons, we all have our areas that we put barriers up to help people, maybe people are in a sin that you find worse than others? Maybe people are drinking themselves to death? Maybe people are dependent on substances? Maybe people are in a job where they sell themselves? NO-ONE should be beyond help! We weren’t with our multitude of sins.
I say this as someone who has been an outsider most of my life, as the song goes “everybody needs compassion” and I am not perfect in this area, instead of praying “LORD get me outta this” pray “LORD give me the words to help this person” We should do it as if we were serving the LORD.
Matthew 25:31 (ESV) “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
We should go all “Downtown Abbey” on the least of these; we should serve them as if we are serving Jesus Christ, the King of Glory himself. If the LORD moves us to help these people, we should do it with all of our heart, not just with our scraps. I am sure the guy who is really destitute will be overjoyed at you throwing a quarter at him (or to him) but if you could help him with $5 without hurting yourself financially, how much more of a blessing would that be to the recipient.
God bless and i pray this was a blessing, help, encouragement or challenge, please comment below.