Wednesday, December 12, 2012

LOVE INCARNATION



I was reflecting on Jesus’ statement in Matthew 25 that the “least of these” are the ones that He identifies Himself with the most. And then it occurred to me that if we (the Church) are the hands and feet of Jesus, (actually His Body in this world), then we are Jesus whenever we go out and serve and love the “least of these” around us.

So, that means we are Jesus to the least, and the least are Jesus to us in that holy moment of loving and giving and serving and receiving His love.
 
Maybe that’s why I love serving others so much? It’s where I feel most like Jesus, and it’s where I meet Jesus in the faces of others, and it’s where Jesus meets me as I share His love with those He most identifies with in this world.
 
But that’s not all. I also started to ponder the term “the least of these” that Jesus uses to describe the poor, the broken, the imprisoned, the outcast, the immigrant, and the hungry. What did He mean by that phrase? Does Jesus really consider these people to be “the least” among us? Are they second class citizens who are only fit to be pitied and fed like helpless puppies? I doubt that very much. Especially since Jesus says that they are somehow the embodiment of Himself in this world.
 
The “least of these” are like Jesus. So, does that mean that if we consider the poor and the immigrant and the imprisoned to be “less than” the rest of us, this is how we really feel about Jesus?
 
Maybe what Jesus really meant by the phrase “the least of these” is that they are, like Him, worthy to be loved and honored as fellow human beings?
 
We know that Jesus left His throne in Glory and stepped down into humanity to become not only “one of us” but intentionally poor, “taking on the form of a servant”, “he became nothing” (see Philippians 2) and, on purpose, placed Himself into the womb of a poor, peasant girl named Mary.
 
This same Mary who was amazed that God would be mindful of the humble state of his servant” (see Luke 1:48), and who couldn’t afford to bring the required Lamb sacrifice into the temple when it was time to dedicate her son, but had to bring two doves instead – the caveat made for those who could not afford a lamb. (see Luke 2:22-24 and Lev.12:8)
 
We have to remember that in the Kingdom of God things appear upside down to us. It’s not that they really are upside down. It’s this world and our way of thinking that needs to be turned right side up.
 
So, when Jesus says that the poor are “the least of these”, He’s using language that our untrained minds can comprehend. He wants us to be sure that we know exactly which people He’s talking about; He means “the poor in the eyes of the world.” (see James 2:5)
 
But those whom we call poor are, in actuality, the rich in God’s economy. They are the blessed ones. They shall be filled. They shall inherit the Earth. They shall receive the Kingdom of God. They will laugh. They will be satisfied.
 
You know who really are "the least" among us? The rich. The proud. The famous. The self-sufficient.
 
"But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets." (Luke 6:24:26)
 
Remember the poor. They are the VIP’s in God’s organization. They are the very ones that Peter, James, John and Paul all agreed they should always remember whenever they went out to preach the Gospel or to plant new churches; something that Paul "had been eager to do all along." (see Galatians 2:10)
 
When we follow Jesus’ commands to love and serve the poor, we enter into a holy communion established between Jesus’ hands and feet (the Church) and Jesus’ heart and soul (the least of these).
 
We get to be Jesus to the least, and the least get to be Jesus to us. This is all part of God’s amazing plan to destroy the evil systems of greed and selfishness in this fallen world; to overcome evil with good, and to confound the wise with foolishness.
 
Don’t miss your chance to love subversively and overthrow the powers of darkness with compassionate acts of sedition today.
 
Let the Kingdom come!
-kg

6 comments:

Jim Wright said...

I read blogs like this all the time - about serving the poor, the least of these, etc.

But I seldom read accounts of actually doing it.

I often wonder if these are just platitudes.

So, got any good accounts to share regarding your own life and what this looks like?

Keith Giles said...

You're new here, aren't ya?

Jim Wright said...

Not too new. I have read how your fellowship gives all of its funds to help the poor.

My question wasn't implying that you all weren't engaged. But I think we all need to share stories of what that specifically looks like.

Keith Giles said...

There are over 1,000 stories on this blog my friend. Feel free to use the search feature above and read as many as you like. Maybe you could share a testimony of your own?

Jim Wright said...

Here's a recent story, just one out of many, regarding a brother who we walked with from jail to homeless to businessman: http://crossroadjunction.com/2012/09/17/bbq/

Faith said...

Thanks for posting this Keith. My heart was doing somersaults as I read it. This is how it feels working with 'the least of these' - it's truly a blessing, and I feel and see Christ so clearly and beautifully in their eyes and their stories. He truly is there in power with them. Also Jim I work with the homeless and live with the poor and always have - read my blog if you want to. Julie