So the young adults group at the church i’ve been attending here in Buenos Aires asked me to speak with them and talk about one of the topics I’m most passionate about: poverty. I feel that better than me trying to stand up and lecturing, its better if I just highlight some of what is written in the Bible itself. A lot of people dont realize how strong the language is in the Bible. There isnt a lot of room for confusion or ambiguity on the issues.
Here’s the verses I had the group look up and discuss:
and finally, i just closed by reading this story by Jesus. It find it incredibly challenging.
Matthew 24:31-45: 31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation 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 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit 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 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “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.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ 44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ 45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
What I find most convicting about this story is that its not just the good things we do that counts, which all nice and what everyone likes to hear. But after that part, Jesus then keeps going and gives us that whole second half, which really is what drives his message home. There is no such thing as neutral. Its not like do a few good things and you’re good. But what he’s saying to us here is, if we arent doing something for the people we see in need around us, its the same as if we were actually harming them. It’s a serious challenge to my comfortable life of easy inaction.
How can I live my life for the least of these?