“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 25:37-40, NIV
I was working with my daughter on an English assignment today when this passage poured into my mind. Her reading was called “Ali and The Magic Stew,” and it is what I would call a Muslim parable. The story is about a rich young boy, spoiled and unkind, who must live the life of a beggar for a day in order to save his father. It was a good one, and when we finished with the assignment, I extended the lesson, taking my daughter to the book of Matthew.
We’ve thought about belonging this week, really soaking in that comforting truth. But perhaps it would be wise to look past what that means for my comfort. Swishing that around in my mind this afternoon, I mentally traveled back to the first time I’d seen The Blind Side. Sitting in that theater, I was actually in tears ten minutes into the movie. Moved deeply, not because of pity, although I felt that too, but because of conviction. Leanna saw what most people refused to look at and acted on it. I prayed as I wept, ‘God open my eyes.’
“Whatever you did for one of the least of these…”
Belonging to Christ is an enormous comfort. But as is true with privilege almost universally, it demands responsibility. Today I was again prodded by the Spirit—convicted because I have become comfortable, content to live my suburban, middle class life with blinders on to the rest of the world. Sadly, as a church, we have largely neglected the command of Christ, and the responsibility of our calling, to care for the widows and orphans, to lovingly uplift the downtrodden and those in prison. It, by and large, has become standard for us to refer those cases to the hands of a government agency, an action that renders the Church impotent in a culture that grows more proud of its darkness by the day.
Whose fault is that?
Mine. I crave the comfort of privilege while ignoring its calling.
God, open my eyes. You have made me yours, and have assured me that I belong. Show me, Lord, how to be useful.