Daily Dose, April 25 — My Brother’s Keeper

  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; 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, 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.” 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? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” 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, you did it to me.” 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; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 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.” 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?” 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.” (Matthew 25:34-45)   If Jesus walked into my office this very moment -- and I recognized him as Jesus -- I’d be the first one to stumble all over myself to do anything he needed me to do. “Would you like some water? Are you hungry? You look a little chilly…can I get you a blanket or a coat? Do you like the music I’m playing? I could change it if you’d prefer…” If only it were that simple. What I sometimes fail to realize -- and fail act on -- is that I have an opportunity to bless the heart of Jesus by seeing him in WHOEVER is in front of me at the time. Sometimes this may be a person of power, influence and prestige; other times, it will be a person who is considered “lowly” by standards of the society around us. In theory, the person’s standing should have no bearing on whether or not I choose to bless them, love them and help provide for their needs. The founder of the Methodist movement, John Wesley, acted on a conviction that God’s love was meant to be made real by meeting people’s real needs. He took Scriptures like the reading from Matthew 25 to heart, and he changed his patterns of living because of it. What he witnessed was an institution called “church” that wasn’t doing many of the things that Christ actually taught. He saw church-goers who were content to hear a priest’s message on Sunday and ignore the needs of their fellow men and women on Monday. And so he did what he could do: he changed his own actions and encouraging others to do the same. He began giving away food. He -- and others in his circle -- began to visit people in prison. He gathered like-minded Christ-followers in small groups. and they began to hold one another accountable, questioning one another on whether their actions lined up with their expressed beliefs. I am a recipient -- and a practitioner -- of the Wesleyan theology that believes that we actually are, in some ways, our brother’s (and sister’s) keeper. I would do well to continue practicing Wesley’s advice: “Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as ever you can.” -- Rev. Brad Greene