The Least of These

“‘I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of
THE LEAST OF THESE brothers or sisters of mine,
you did it for me.’”
– Matthew 25:37-40 (NET)

In this parable Jesus talks of a king who is accepts people into his kingdom based on how they treated people. And not just any people – the LEAST of his citizens. The lowest class. The most marginalized in his society. Who is the most marginalized in our society?

I could list a number of groups based on ethnicity, economics, even faith tradition or lack thereof. One group I think we all would obviously exclude is those who have prospered and are well off – we’re at least that smart. Allow me to suggest another group…

Imagine your parents live in an extremely poor country where the government and military are highly oppressive. You fear for your life daily, and your parents have an insanely difficult time making ends meet. You’re hungry. You’re just a little kid.

Your parents hear of a foreign country that has historically accepted people from other nations and given them a chance to not only start over, but to thrive – completely opposite of your home country. And so your parents decide to take you and the rest of the family and travel to this foreign land – on foot. Many, many, many miles.

This foreign country has a process to help people like your family – it’s called “political asylum”. You don’t know what that means because you’re just a kid, but it sounds wonderful. And so despite the hardships, the wearying walks through jungles, deserts, and hills you arrive in this foreign land…

But instead of realizing your dream, you are stripped from your parents and grandparents and put in a cage.

They don’t give you basic necessities, so you’re just alone, helpless, crying, and confused along with many other children just like you. Some die; no one seems to care. Some guards are taunting and you don’t understand. You just miss your parents and wonder how they believed such a lie that left you imprisoned.

I think that qualifies under the ranks of “The Least of These”. Don’t you?

Now hear how Jesus describes the heroes in this story:

I was hungry and you gave me food…
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink
I was a stranger and you invited me in
I was naked and you gave me clothing
I was sick and you took care of me
I was in prison and you visited me.

Does that describe you? Or would you rather let the little children suffer, full well knowing that Jesus himself will take your actions as being done to himself personally? It’s your call. Just don’t tell me how much you love Jesus if you don’t give a shit about the least of these.

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