by Pastor Robert Perez
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ – Matthew 25:40-45 New International Version (NIV)
Let’s face it, we’re inclined to care for our own. It’s our primordial default setting. After ourselves, we take care of our families and friends, on to our community, culture, and country in a widening circle, but always requiring a tether back to our own existence. My child. My country. My race. My religion. If they fall into any one of the “my” categories we feel obliged and inclined to care for them. If they fall outside, they are more than likely ignored.
Jesus always carefully chose the wording, context and right moment in time to speak. So, it would seem that he was clear on who he was referring to by “the least of these”. The generally accepted idea is that whenever you help anyone in need, or conversely disregard them just the same, it is as if you had done it to Jesus directly, and through him, God. This means all your actions are either for or against God, not by virtue of your intent alone, but whenever you do something, aware or not of its implications, it will be judged by God as a gift or an offence.
Did Jesus mean only regarding the poor or sick? Did he mean only to apply it to women and children? Or did he mean any entity that is deemed incapable of defending itself or in need?
We’re lucky that we live in a time when we are not ignorant about how the world works scientifically and sociologically. We have a good understanding and acceptance that we are all parts in a larger collective whole where each part effects the other. Science and technology have improved the world for many of us, but unfortunately, as we gain faith in science, we also by choice move backwards, away from our spiritual nature.
We are a mighty species that has dominated and defied the laws of nature. We applaud our victory over the weak and ignorant and declare ourselves rulers of them. Then we fight our own kind for ultimate supremacy, to rule all. We willingly succumb to the power of the enemy’s seductive charm.
When our needs are met and our desires for worldly things are satisfied, we accept the fulfillment as “good”. As others struggle, we take comfort believing it’s a dog-eat-dog world with every man for himself, and we thank God for our inheritance as we turn a blind eye to those without. We ignore the negative outcome of our selfish victories.
The natural world God built for us was not built EXCLUSIVELY for us. It was designed as a synergistic system reliant on all parts of itself for overall health and survival.
A fundamental failure of Christianity is the lack of connection to the natural world. Unlike other faiths that embraced it as a part of, and integral to, the spiritual world, Christians are arrogant and only choose to talk of and care for our “kind”, namely humans of like mindedness.
If you read with clarity the words of Jesus and resist all temptations to marginalize them into a country club doctrine, but instead absorb them face value, you’ll see the universal beauty of Gods messages and apply them without prejudice and without coveting.
Jesus saw into the past straight through to the future. He understood the full measure of the connections of our actions, even as small as a cup of water given to a thirsty person. “What you do to the least of these, anything, you do to me.”
When you care for our world, you show love to God. When you destroy the world, you destroy a part of God. Christians must leave the pew and their boxed in mental prisons and “see” before it’s too late. The moment you say “us” or “them” is the start of your decline. You must extend your love and grace not only to humans all over the world, but to every aspect of the world. You are followers of Christ and Christ did not harm those around him. He did not forsake anyone or anything.
Our moral imperative is that we care for our beautiful home, all of it. The “least of these” include all life forms on our planet. Hold a bug in your hand and you’ll see how mighty you are and helpless they are.
The greatest challenge to becoming Christian is before us, not behind. To be baptized is not enough. To read the bible is not enough. To go to church is not enough. To say and believe you are a Christian is not enough.
Christians are soldiers commissioned by God to fight evil, especially when that evil resides in our selves.
Don’t you get it? The enemy wants us to destroy our home. The enemy has given us poison and we consume it willingly. Spit it out and reclaim yourself and your home.
Do to the least of these what Christ wished, be mighty and a champion for all.
Artwork: “Rose – Spots 01 (Detail)” LIMITED-EDITION PRINT, 40 x 40 inches, Archival Pigment Print. Edition Size: 150 ©Artist Robert Perez