Daily Encouragement - June 18
Micah 6:8 He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Matthew 25:34-45 34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 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.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family,[g] you did it to me.’ 41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’
I will readily admit to being a news junkie, as I have previously mentioned. My curiosity is always leading me to find out what is going on in the world. I think maybe it comes from having been raised in a tiny town (Marshville population at the time was 1500 souls) by a mother who had a powerful curiosity about what was going on in the neighborhood. (I have known her to get out the binoculars to check on what was happening across the street, and to turn off the window fan at night so that she could better hear what the next-door neighbors were discussing in their driveway late at night.) As I grew older, my curiosity stretched beyond the town limits of Marshville, and I came to want to know what was going on in the world both near and far. That has lasted throughout my life into my senior citizenhood, until just lately, when it has waned somewhat. Lately I have become more and more content to simply stay in my own comfortable, safe world; to let the TV sit silent unless I turn it on to watch an Aurora Teagarden Mystery.
The news is troublesome. It reminds me that not everyone can sit in comfort and safety, insulated from the world’s suffering. It makes me restless. I know I should be doing something, but WHAT? It makes me uneasy. I do not know what is coming next. Will this pandemic ever be over? Will the protests ever stop? And will the cause for such protests ever be still? It is often hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys. And so, I simply want to stay in my own good place and try to ignore it all. That is not, however, a faithful response.
For four years I worked at the Robeson County Church and Community Center in Lumberton. Robeson is one of the poorest counties in our country. (But not everyone is poor. Some have a great deal, others have nothing. Our job at the Center was to work with the poorest folks there and try to help them get along in an often cruel world. The Matthew text was our foundational scripture. It was part of my job there to find out what was going on in the community and try to determine what we could do to help. Everyday when I came home, I knew that what I was doing had made a difference to somebody. I felt sure I was doing the Lord’s work of justice and kindness for the least of Jesus’ sisters and brothers.
I think that is why I do not like to watch the news of late. There is a great lack of justice and kindness in the world today. When I see what is happening in our world, I can feel the Savior’s voice telling me I need to do something about it…I need to do something to help out.
And I read the Matthew 25 passage and I think, well I have done those things! I must be pretty good! I have fed the hungry, clothed the unclad, visited the sick and the imprisoned. I must be pretty good! I have done all of those things! But then the question becomes, “Well, Rachel, when have you not?”
Dear Lord, you have shown me what is required, but too often I have not done it. Give me strength to put actions to my prayers, and be a helper. Amen.
Teach us, O Lord, your lessons, as in our daily life
we struggle to be human and search for hope and faith.
Teach us to care for people, for all, not just for some,
to love them as we find them, or as they may become. (UMH 560)
Pastor Rachel Moser