enter your thoughts sometimes. I ran a search in my Libronix system for “declaration of independence”, thinking that I would post something on it today.
One of the search results met my spiritual needs for today. We live in such an awesome country, especially economically, that it is easy for me to forget what my role in life should be. This helped to remind me.
For when we do good things to others we do good things to God.
When Francis of Asissi turned his back on wealth to seek God in simplicity, he stripped naked and walked out of the city. He soon encountered a leper on the side of the road. He passed him, then stopped and went back and embraced the diseased man. Francis then continued on his journey. After a few steps he turned to look again at the leper, but no one was there.
For the rest of his life, he believed the leper was Jesus Christ. He may have been right.
Jesus lives in the forgotten. He has taken up residence in the ignored. He has made a mansion amidst the ill. If we want to see God we must go among the broken and beaten and there we will see him.
“He rewards those who truly want to find him,” is the promise. “Anything you did for even the least of my people here, you also did for me,” is the plan.
Perhaps you read about the fellow in Philadelphia who went to the flea market and found a frame he liked. It was only a couple of bucks, this dusty print of a country church. It was torn and faded, but the guy liked the frame so he bought it.
When he got home he opened it up and out tumbled a neatly folded sheet of paper. It was the Declaration of Independence. What everyone had thought was a two-dollar painting at a flea market actually contained one of the original one hundred copies of the Declaration of Independence printed on July 4, 1776.5
Valuable surprises are discovered in unlikely sources. True in flea markets and true in life. Make an investment in the people the world has cast offâ€”the homeless, the AIDS patient, the orphan, the divorceeâ€”and you may discover the source of your independence.
Jesus’ message is stirring: “The way you treat them is the way you treat me.”
Of all the teachings during the last week of Christ, this one is for me the most penetrating. I wish he hadn’t said what he said. I wish he’d said that the sign of the saved is the books they have written, for I’ve written several. I wish he’d said the sign of the saved was the numbers of sermons they’ve preached, for I’ve preached hundreds. I wish he’d said the sign of the saved was the audiences they’ve amassed, for I’ve spoken to thousands.
But he didn’t. His words reminded me that the person who sees Christ is the one who sees the hurting person. To see Jesus, go to the convalescent home, sit down beside the elderly woman, and steady her hand as she puts the spoon in her mouth. To see Jesus, go to the community hospital and ask the nurse to take you to see one who has received no visits. To see Jesus, leave your office and go down the hall and talk to the man who is regretting his divorce and missing his children. To see Jesus, go to the inner city and give a sandwichâ€”not a sermon, but a sandwichâ€”to the bag lady who’s made a home out of an overpass.
To see Jesus â€¦ see the unattractive and forgotten.
Lucado, M. (1992). And the angels were silent (142). Portland, Or.: Multnomah.
Matthew 25:34â€“36 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:
I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’
37â€“40 “Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was meâ€”you did it to me.’
Peterson, E. H. (2002). The Message : The Bible in contemporary language (Mt 25:33-40). Colorado Springs, Colo.: NavPress.