Matthew 25:36-40 New King James Version (NKJV)
36 – I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and, you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.
37 – “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?
38 – When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?
39 – When did we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you?’
40 And the King will tell them, ‘I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
On Saturday Aug. 29 three different groups Were involved in raising money to provide services to the hurting and homeless in Xenia and Greene County. The Jeremiah Tree, 118 W. Second St, P.O Box E., had its Bridge Walk which started at the Shawnee Park. Christ Episcopal Church, 63 E. Church St., had a Pancake Breakfast to help raise funds to fund their shelter program which runs each year from November to March The Greene County Housing Program Inc., 1080 E. Main St. had a rummage sale to help with funding their operation.
Another group, desperate for funds, did not have anything going on Saturday, Aug. 29 but is just as much in need of your help as is of the other programs already mentioned and believe me each of them are worthy. Simon Kenton Bridges of Hope, 1087 W. Second St. P.O. Box 241.
Simon Kenton is the one stop shop that will eventually provide services to all Greene Counties’ homeless once adequate funds are raised. In this passage Jesus is describing acts of mercy He expects His followers, all of us, can do every day. These acts do not depend on wealth, ability, or intelligence; they are simple acts freely given and freely received.
We have no excuse to neglect those who have deep needs, and we cannot hand over this responsibility to the church or government. However, the church cannot be negligent in her responsibility in outreach ministry either.
Jesus demands our personal involvement in caring for others’ needs Isaiah 58:7 in the New Living Translation says it so well and so clearly, “7I want you to share your food with the hungry and to welcome poor wanderers into your homes. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.”
Those of us who would be followers of Jesus the Christ can do what we can personally to assist those who need us where we can, when we can and do what we can to help physically , financially, emotionally and prayerfully everyday. The question is often raised, and there is much discussion about the identity of the “brothers and sisters,” that Jesus is talking about.
Someone has said they are His chosen people Israel; others say they are only Christians; still others say they are all those suffering people everywhere.
Such a debate is much like the lawyer’s questioning to Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29).
You remember that question in the story about the Good Samaritan. The Priest and the Temple worker walk by but the Samaritan does not, he stops to help.” Who is the neighbor?”
The point of this exchange is not the “who,” but the what—the importance of serving where service is needed. The focus of this parable is that we should love everybody and serve anyone we can. Such love for others glorifies God by reflecting our love for him. After all, didn’t Jesus say,” By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35 NIV)
Dr. Edgar A. Wallace is Pastor of First United Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), 626 North Columbus Avenue, Xenia and is President of the Xenia Area Association of Churches and Ministries. He also serves on the boards of the Jeremiah Tree and Simon Kenton Bridges of Hope.