The Least (Polite) of These

August 31, 2016 at 2:25 pm | Posted in Matthew, The Flood | 3 Comments
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There is some debate about exactly to whom Jesus was referring when He emphasized the responsibility of His disciples to minister to “the least of these.” However, most Bible scholars agree that the list He gave was both specific and illustrative, counting as a summation of those who are the most helpless and neglected in worldly society.

As 21st Century Christians we are prone to romanticize the notion of “the least of these” and picture ourselves taking in a doe-eyed orphan with smudged but pudgy cheeks. Or perhaps we see ourselves caring for a kindly old grandfather, abandoned by His Gen-X children who are too busy with their own lives to benefit from his homespun wisdom and sage advice. Jesus did not, however, limit His description of the needy and the outcasts to those to whom we might find it easier – for sentimental reasons – to minister.

For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

Matthew 25:42-45

What our family found out during the recent flooding in our parish, which affected the rich and poor alike, is that the person who comes into your home during a catastrophe, needing food, water, clothing, and shelter, may be the “the most irritating of these.”

He might be a person who makes all his phone calls on speaker-phone, yelling at the top of his lungs and broadcasting the other person’s (who has not been told he’s on speaker) personal business to everyone within earshot.

He might be a person who comes in drenched with sweat, mold, flood water, and Chinese drywall, and, declining your desperate offer of a shower, plops himself right down on your couch pillows and puts his feet up.

He might be a person who is super touchy about everyone else’s failure to appreciate his plight, while also being hypocritically hypercritical of others who are worse off than him.

He might be the person who picks skin off his feet and flicks it on your carpet.

He might be the person who stands uncomfortably close to your wife, peering over her shoulder at the pot she is stirring on the stove while pompously offering suggestions about how to cook green beans to the best green bean cooker in the known world.

He might be the person who would rather sit up til late at night in the living room, spurning the comfortable guest bed you’ve offered him, while belching loudly 56 times in a row in front of your high school aged daughters.

He might be the person who, after four days of living with your family, has still not bothered to learn a single one of their names.

He might be all of these things and more, but, as a servant of the King, it is tough to rationalize away your duty to care for “the least of these” even when the category includes those with the least manners and common courtesy.

I’m Just Sayin’ 3

March 9, 2009 at 2:06 pm | Posted in Biblical Eyesight, I'm Just Sayin' | 13 Comments
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I know there are some people who are genuinely concerned about other people’s physical appearances, but, I’m just sayin’, I already know how I look.

Believe me, I DO have a mirror in my house. It’s not my favorite thing at which to look, but I make a point to look into it at least once a day. And, although it might be hard for some people to accept, I DO know the condition of my own eyes.

Here’s me and here’s a dude that weighs 450 pounds. We are talking pleasantly to each other, but otherwise minding our own business. Here comes a third person walking up to us. This third person looks at the obese man and says… NOTHING. This third person looks at me, and says, “Hey man, what’s wrong with your eyes? You have really dark circles. And they’re RED! You look rough, like you didn’t get much sleep last night.”

Now, all of these things are true, but I’m just sayin’, what is it about tired-looking eyes that calls for a complete scorched-earth campaign of honesty against all social etiquette? This happens to me multiple times each day – I’m neither kidding nor exaggerating.

Here’s the skinny: I was BORN with dark circles under my eyes. My eyes are puffy and swollen if I’ve been up all night, and they are puffy and swollen if I slept 16 hours a night for the last three nights in a row. My eyes have ALWAYS been red and bloodshot – I can show you my elementary school pictures. And, finally, YES, I DO KNOW IT!

To top it off, people have very selective memories. Many of the people I know – and HAVE KNOWN for 10+ years – tell me how my eyes look EVERY TIME they see me – often more than once during the same day!

I’ve seen these same people interact with amputees. I’ve seen them interact with horrendously-obvious toupee’-wearers – and nary a word. But let me show up – and, all of sudden, the gloves are off. “Wow, your eyes… Did you know you have really big bags under your eyes?”

Maybe people are just extremely sympathetic and helpful, but, if you see someone with something about his face that you obviously find noteworthy of mention or amazement, here’s a hint: You are NOT REQUIRED to mention it every time you see him! I’m just sayin’.

meerkat eyes

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