“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ Mt. 25:37-40…………..
See that homeless man on the little strip of pavement in between the two roads going in different directions? The one with the sign just like every other sign you’ve seen held by a homeless man saying something or other like, “Hungry. Homeless. Hurting. Help me.” Or something like that anyway? See his grimy unshaven face? His unkempt beard that hasn’t seen a razor in only God knows how long? His clothes filthy, surely stinking, but you’re not up close enough to see ‘cause you’re just driving by, again, like you do every day to work, every weekday anyway. There he is again, the homeless man, just another homeless man, and oh, look at that hair, too much hair, needs a cut badly, so much hair it’s too much to stuff in that cotton black cap, you know, the cap that’s supposed to keep him warm, but of course it’s too cold for anyone to be warm in winter, someone who’s outdoors all the time, of course if he got a job, but he’s just another homeless man, wants to be homeless, probably, well, you don’t really know, do you?
And, come to think of it, he’s not just another homeless man, is he? He’s not just another homeless man begging for money so he can get himself some food, or maybe another drink which he knows he’s not supposed to do but he just can’t seem to stop drinking, well, you know, the story goes on, doesn’t it? But that’s just the point, the point of this message.
That man you see standing in the middle of the road, or on the side of the road, or in the parking lot of the grocery store, or downtown in front of the church, or wherever, and this isn’t just about just another homeless man, or homeless woman for that matter, or homeless person at all. This message is about people, and their stories, and their need. See, that man described above isn’t just another homeless man. But that’s how some of us look at the homeless, and the hookers, and the hurting, and the hungry, and the needy, and the poor, and on and on, right? As just another person in need, someone we can give some coins to, or a sandwich to, or whatever to, or nothing at all. Someone just like every other person who looks like him, or her. Labeled with a label. Identified with an identify. Hooker. Homeless. Hurting. Hungry. Whatever.
Never mind that person is just that. A person. A human. Someone alive and breathing. Someone God created. But sometimes some of us refuse to look at their faces, and consider their stories, and remember they have hearts, and hurts, and backgrounds, and stories, and circumstances, and hardship, and on and on. See, they, too, smile, and laugh, and love, and cry, though some may no longer smile often, or laugh much. But still, they’re real. Like we are. All of us humans have our stories, but sometimes some of us lump those in need into one big category of “they need help”, and we toss them a little help, and off we go, figuring we’ve helped the needy, now we can get on with our lives. If we help them at all.
The Lord Jesus Christ makes clear in the Bible that when we help one of “the least of these”, we are giving to Him. We are loving and serving Him. But are we? Are we doing this? And with what kind of attitude? What’s in our hearts? Obligation? Pity? Disgust? Judgment? Wanting to feel good about us? Knowing we should? Helping just another homeless man? Or just another hurting hooker? Or do we realize we’re loving and serving God? We’re loving our fellows? Yes, fellow. That’s right. Fellow human. And we all have needs. All of us. We all need Christ, and we all need God’s love, mercy, forgiveness, compassion, salvation, strength, comfort, help, provision, fellowship, etc. And we all have a responsibility to share Christ with a broken world. But are we? And what do we think, and feel, when we do?
That man isn’t just another homeless man. He’s a human being with a story. And if all we’re doing is turning the other way and ignoring him, and all those in need, or all we’re doing is tossing coins at the homeless man, and the others in need, or serving them in some other way, but with an attitude of oh that’s just another person in need, instead of a person God created who needs to be loved and helped and who has a story, who is real and alive and breathing like we are, who needs compassion and help in finding and following Jesus, we’re missing it, don’t you think?
Let’s stop seeing those in need as just another person in need. Let’s love and care for them, let’s share Christ with them, let’s have true compassion, let’s give from loving hearts, and lets’ stop seeing them as just another homeless man, just another hooker, just another hurting person, just another hungry person. And even if that person we see isn’t the one God wants us to help, because He is sending us to someone else and He has someone else to send to that particular person, at the very least let’s at least in our hearts stop thinking about those who are in need as just another person in need.
We’re all in need, we’re all people, we all need Christ, we all need His love, we all have a story, each and every one of us, we’re all nothing without Him, we’re all headed for eternity apart from God in hell and the lake of fire without faith in Christ and a life devoted to Him, without what He did on the cross for us when He bore our sins and penalty for them on Himself, we’re all in need of Jesus. And should we who have received His love and salvation not stop looking at “those people” as “just another homeless man” and start seeing others as people God created whom we can love and pray for and share the Gospel with and encourage and help in Christ’s everlasting merciful beautiful forever love? For the glory of the Lord, yes!