Friday, March 09, 2007


Have you ever noticed that the definition for the "least of these" that Jesus compels us to minister to, are not a socio-economic class, or even necessarily a lowly, needy group of people? No, they are the people we would "least" like to minister to in any given moment?

When I read through the New Testament, I see story after story of Jesus interacting and giving of himself to people that the Jews looked down on, and would not even talk to, because they were considered "unclean."

Being unclean, was a big deal to the Jews. Much was written about ceremonial cleansing in the Old Testament, and the need to keep oneself clean, so that you would be able to be present in the Temple, and stand among your brothers and sisters.

With this knowledge, Jesus consistently spent time with those the Jews despised. They were raised with these biases towards people that did not conform to their way of life, their religion. Those unclean people were Gentiles.

I am a gentile. I don't spend any time in rite and ritual, cleansing of myself. To a Jew, I would be among the "least of these."

Jesus, ministered to the Samaritan woman at the well. He had his feet bathed by a prostitutes tears and dried by her hair. Had an unknown woman touch him for healing from her bleeding disorder. He spent time with tax collectors (even called one to be his disciple). He ministered to the gentile woman who pleaded as a dog would for scraps from the table. He interacted with a Roman Centurion and healed his servant. He even touched dead people and restored them to life.

All of these offenses, plus routinely doing things on the Sabbath would have rendered Him unclean, and incapable of being present in the Temple. He was despised and rejected of men, because He took their ritualistic religion and made a mockery of it.

He raised up Apostles like Peter, who hung out with a Tanner named Simon. This Tanner was "filthy" because he touched dead animals. Philip ministered to an Ethiopian eunuch who was "unclean" by virtue of his nationality and his "disposition."

The list goes on and on. All of these that Christ ministered to were the "least of these" in the moment the spotlight fell on them.

BJ's own experience found him doing likewise. Who wants to minister to corrupt policemen? He spent time with gang members, people of other religions, drug addicts, alcoholics, and even transvestites. He led them to a Saving knowledge and relationship with Jesus Christ.

The love that Christ demonstrated for BJ through His death on the Cross, was enough to capture BJ's heart, and willingness to go out and die daily to himself.

It was from a disposition of love that he would study the Word by flashlight on long bus rides. He wanted to be sure he was ready to share with the next person counted among the "least of these." Those that others did not want to share with, were the very ones he was drawn to.

There are a lot of people out there that the rest of us do not want to share with. There are a lot of the "least of these" who need Jesus.

The "least of these" will be found whenever you come to the end of your own comfort and ability. They are the ones you are "least" likely to want to spend any time with.

The "least of these" may be different for each of us. That is the beauty of the calling on our lives. If we each reach out to the person we are least likely to want to interact with in any given moment, we will reach the least of them and they will be counted among those with eternal life. Those who are considered the "least" stand to gain the most!

Die to yourself. Take up your cross. Follow Him.



At 10:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our Lord loves every single sinner, not just the ones that are "easy" to minister to. The lessons that we learn from ministering to the 'least of these' are invaluable and are also the hardest to learn.

At 12:48 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I've thought about this all day and the Lord reminded me that I would have fallen into the catorgery of "the least of these". This isn't to say that I was living a terrible life, but I was living a life without God.

Surely all those who do not yet have a personal relationship with our Lord would fall into this catorgery?
No matter who we are or where we are in life, if we haven't been blessed and brought up in a Christian home and given our lives over to Jesus, then we all need someone to minister to us, to show us the way to Jesus. To pray for us, to stand in the gap, even if we don't know that we need it.

I wasn't fortunate enough to have been brought up in a Christian home, but at 43 I was extremely blessed to have friends who belonged to Jesus, who prayed for me, who ministered to me and who invited me to church, where for the first time I met Jesus and instantly fell in love with Him and gave Him control of my life.

We need to remember that along with those whom we wouldn't normally think of ministering to, we also need to remember our friends who are lost, our neighbors, our workmates etc.
I know from experience that a life without Jesus, isn't life, but a life with Him is indescribeable.

In His Love

At 6:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Brent and Deanna,

Probably for most Christians, it would be easy to say that we want to help "the least of these." In theory, we want to do it. HOWEVER, and this is where the finger points to myself, so few of us actually DO anything with our good intentions. It's so hard to get out of our comfort zones (and some people have absolutely no desire to do that...) and reach out to other people.

I recently read Derek's notes from his Wednesday night talk with the teenagers from our church, right before he left for Peru. He reminded them that Jesus' last words before returning to heaven were a command to go to our neighborhood, then on to the rest of the world, sharing Him with others. It's not a suggestion, but a command--one that we have trouble obeying....

Thanks for the reminder! Dan and I are in a transition time right now, and time will tell exactly what God has in mind for us in the next few months. We realize that it MIGHT OR MIGHT NOT be apartment ministry, and are waiting expectantly for clear direction. In the meantime, we close on the selling of our house April 6th.

Praying for y'all, and don't forget to pray for us.

Love, Jolene


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