Every Christian mission organization I am aware of quotes Matthew’s Gospel from the 25th Chapter. Verses 34 through 40 encompass the distress faced by humans in a social context and I often wonder about the expectation presented here for a follower of Christ.
34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 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; 36 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, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38 And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
Hunger, thirst, nakedness, estrangement, sickness and captivity are stark realities for many. When distress is an immediate, personal experience it is transformative, usually in destructive ways. When we see needs in the lives of others and take action, to the extent we can, to ease those conditions, they can be transformative as a blessing.
What is expected goes beyond the easily understood. The “Me” and “You” in these words of Jesus are meant to make an impression. “Me and You” should guide us to better understand the “we and them” of our circumstances.
For United Methodist Neighborhood Centers to clothe and feed, to educate, nurture and visit requires the support of Christians who will share in the work of righteousness that leads to blessing. While we depend on the financial support of many to help many we also ask folk to “do more than give.”
As you read about UMNC ministries consider the claim God makes on you to give and participate.
Consider the ways “we” work together so the “them” can be considered “us.”
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Brent Porterfield