An interpretation of Matthew 25 by a homeless women (John Stott) :
I was hungry and you formed a humanities group to discuss my hunger.
I was imprisoned and you crept off quietly to your church and prayed for my release.
I was naked and in your mind you debated the morality of my appearance.
I was sick and you knelt and thanked God for your health.
I was homeless and you preached to me of the spiritual shelter of the love of God.
I was lonely and you left me alone to pray for me.
You seem so holy, so close to God,
but I am still very hungry – and lonely – and cold.
I have four papers to do for the Exile course I am taking at Mac Div. Earlier this year, my friend introduce me to D. He is turning 70 this year and is struggling to pay the bills. He used to work as a English tutor and is out of work. Since my grammar is poor, I asked if he can review my paper and in return I pay him for it.
I was already planning on paying someone to proof-read for me. On eLance.com, there were many highly qualify proof-readers. I figured it might as well be D. Tonight, we went out for dinner as he returned my paper. A good conversation between the meal and he shared with me his struggles.
I am trying to not to write to gain pity on D. As I associate with those less fortunate than me, I often have to discern clearly as to what I am doing is it right or am I judging.
He shared that his legs were giving him problems and he didn’t want to go to the hospital.
He shared about the couch that he got was broken and was killing his back.
He talked about getting pension at the beginning of the month and running out by the 10th.
The problems were endless. At times, it seemed daunting.
As I was driving D dropping him back to his place tonight, I can’t help but to think, is this what it means to be a Christian? Is it what it means to take care of the sick and the needy?
And I must admit, there is a lot I do not know. Against this monstrous problem of poverty, how does one take up the will and the cause? There are many debates and praying as to what’s the best way and what not. In most of my experience, it usually ends with a lot of discussion and little action.
And I am scare and frighten. For to give more, especially during a recession, is unnatural. Yet, there are those who I’ve seen and know are going through harder times than me. What should one do? What ought one to do?
Again these are good questions. I just don’t want to ask. I am tired of asking. I think sometimes God speak very clear in the Bible. Give to the sick. Help the poor. Not when we have plenty. Just give.
Is that even plausible in today’s society?
Steve’s post bring a lot of things back home. He talked about how his dad give and give and he kept getting burn and people take advantage of him.
I would rather burn in the name of Christ than sitting in my comfy home and not do anything.
I would rather get cheated for being more generous than protect my stuff.
I do not understand it. I am pretty sure if I have to dig, I can go into the Bible and bring scripture after scripture to validate my point. But in the end, it doesn’t matter. This ain’t an intellectual debate. I do not think anyone going to say one shouldn’t help or give to the poor. It is sad if one has to argue and convince another Christian they should help the poor.
…a while back, a Christian friend ask me how can I justify helping the poor is more glorifying than being in the church, say helping the children ministry. In return I told him, in my own Christian walk, I spend one day of the year help the poor, then I go off in my Christian circle thinking I am living in Kingdom of God. I am saddened after reflecting on that.
Then in return, I ask him how him or his church can justify for not going out and help those in need of help. And the conversation drift off to something else….(note: I told him I ain’t doing one over the other. I am actually doing both.)
And often, in my experience, that’s the case. I talked about helping the poor. Talked about being like Jesus. Talked about the problems. Talked about this and that…and perhaps I might even bring it up on prayer meeting and give a few prayer.
There are two parts between Steve and Tony’s posts captured my attention.
All those former addicts, ex-cons and people with missing teeth often made me uncomfortable, but I guess God isn’t always interested in our comfort
And Tony‘s post (which Steve’s post is based on):
I remind myself that this homeless man is likely a drug user, and that the poor family over there spent money on a satellite dish. I recall the biblical injunction: If a man will not work, neither shall he eat. I do this not because I am holy or steward-minded but because deep down I am afraid of a relationship with them. I am terrified they will latch on to me in their need and never let go.
When I think about what Jesus did, He wasn’t thinking about being used or what not. I am sure there are those who used Jesus. I mean, those who ask to be healed and never accept Him as Lord and Savior. Did Jesus stop helping those people? Nope. Did He accused them for not being grateful? Nope.
And I look at my own heart. I too, don’t like the idea of getting cheated and taken advantage of. But I hate the idea of thinking I am ‘spiritual‘ up in an Ivy tower with all my knowledge and intellectual talk and debate when I have the faintest idea of what it means to follow Christ.
And so I dropped D at his place. Before he left, he shared with me today was one of the most wonderful day he had in a while. Perhaps it’s because we are getting spring-like weather and the sun was out. I just hope through all these interaction and struggles, D can see where Jesus is working in His life. And perhaps, through this radical (reckless!) act of giving, I can see Jesus and walk the way He walks.