Best of Daily Reflections: If God Never Does Another Thing for Me
“…I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.”
For many years, my only experience with jail was as a token on the corner of the Monopoly board. Sometimes I’d make it through the whole game without ever going to jail. Other times out of necessity, I’d pray for a roll of doubles or a “Get Out of Jail” free card.
That’s when God extended an invitation for me to minister to women in jail, initially as a volunteer. Last year I began working a few hours a week teaching life skills, writing letters, and visiting one-on-one with female inmates.
Their stories vary, though in many ways, their need is similar. They need hope and love.
In Matthew 25, Jesus spoke to his disciples. He warned his closest followers how important it was to serve others in tangible ways. But not just any “others.” He highlighted certain people society had written off, deeming them unworthy of the disciples’ time and our attention.
Today we can donate with a click and someone else buys food for the needy or purchases blankets for the homeless. We pay clergy to make hospital visits.
But in so doing, we just might miss the blessing.
Last fall I visited with Terri (not her real name). During our conversation, we discussed her pending release. We talked about housing options and job opportunities.
Terri shared how God had met her there between those window-free concrete walls. In response, she spent hours pouring over Scripture, meditating on verses, and talking with Jesus.
As I prepared to wrap up my visit, which I typically do with a prayer, Terri said something that caught me totally off guard.
“Ms. Cheryl,” she began. “Even if God never does another thing for me,” she paused for a long moment before continuing with a shaky voice, “what Jesus did for me on the cross is enough. I’m grateful.”
That afternoon it was I who asked Terri to pray for me.
Funny. I never considered how I might encounter Jesus “in the least of these.”
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Have you ever served a meal at a soup kitchen? Could you use your lunch hour to sit with someone in the hospital? Might you travel to another country and help dig a well for total strangers without access to clean water? How might you be in need of Jesus?
PRAYER: Father, I confess so often I’m caught up in my own stuff that I fail to see the needs of hurting people on my street, in my city, and around the world. Open my eyes and open doors for me to tangibly serve others. Give me the courage to share the hope found in you. And, Jesus, please let me see you in the process. Amen.
Social Justice at Work
When God asks us to take care of the orphan, widow, and the poor, what does that mean for our workplaces? How do we follow a social justice mandate in our offices, schools, warehouses and retail establishments? And how does it change our world when social justice works the way God intended?
In the series Social Justice at Work, The High Calling explores social justice in the places we work and the ways we work. Join us as we discuss how our calling to the "least of these" affects us outwardly in our jobs, and inwardly as we perform our jobs, via theme-related Bible reflections, featured articles, and discussion starters. We encourage you to add your questions, concerns and comments, engage with us on social media (especially Twitter and Facebook), and invite your friends and colleagues to do the same.