Beyond Charity to Relationship
Apologies for the long verse text to follow, but please stay tuned….
31 “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his 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 creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
41 “Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. 42 For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. 43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’
44 “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’
45 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’
46 “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.
Wow! That is an intense verse to read. It gives me a feeling of guilt for all the times I have not helped, when I could.
It’s unlikely that it’s just me feeling this way. Thousands of us feel the twinge of guilt as we pass by a person sleeping on the side of the street. But here is the reality folks, God has called us to help the poor. You can’t bring help and justice to the poor if you don’t know them.
Ground breaking as it may seem, when He said take care of the poor, I don’t think he meant write off a check to a homeless shelter and check ‘charity’ off your list. Giving money is fabulous, non-profits need donations, but with that you need to be building relationships with those who are impoverished and oppressed.
This brief blog will not do justice to the true reality behind Gods call for relationships with the poor and oppressed. But here are a few tips you can try out this week:
- Gather a group of people in your church to volunteer at your local homeless shelter, soup kitchen, or food pantry. Encourage regular attendance, so that you can begin to build relationships with the impoverished in your own community.
- Get to know an immigrant family in your neighborhood as immigrants are often vulnerable to oppression.
- Join a Bible study led by someone with less formal education than yourself.
- Become a pen pal with someone who is in prison
- Visit a service in which you be a minority, invite someone to share a meal after the service.These are just a few simple things you can do, to learn more visit our Live Justly home page and be sure to check out our curriculum.