Friday, September 9, 2016

the least of these

Lewis tells us about charity today in A Year with C.S. Lewis.

I heard someone giving a sermon one day talk about the different ways that God talks to us. He said the usual ways that I'm familiar with... through the Bible, through the advice of our friends, through our conscience, through our talents and desires. But then he mentioned one I'd never thought of.

See, Jesus told us that what we do to the least of these, we do to Him. And that's true in more than one sense. When we meet with the poor, not only are we acting toward Jesus, but He in turn acts toward us. The poor can teach us many things.

Now, this of course doesn't mean that we should do whatever poor people tell us. There was a homeless man walking down the street in Washington who asked me for some money. The way he said it was, "Buy a bum a beer?" And while I found his honesty refreshing, that doesn't exemplify the kind of wisdom that I mean.

One thing I've noticed about poor people is that they have a sort of joy that wealthy people seem to be looking for. They also value relationships far more than those who are well off. And they are grateful for what they get, while wealthy people often take things for granted. These are all good things for us to learn from them.

One day I was driving down the road in Dallas and I saw a man limping along with a ripped shirt and blood on his forehead. There was a group of men behind him who seemed to be chasing him. I pulled over and he climbed into my car, and explained in Spanish that I had saved his life because those men were going to kill him.

I asked where he wanted to go, and he told me. I took him home, and he repeatedly thanked me and offered to fix my boots for free anytime I wanted. (I don't have boots, but I appreciated his offer.) And then he took my hand and kissed it. I looked down, and I saw blood on my hand. And I thought to myself, "What you do for the least of these... you do for Me." And in a sense, that was Jesus's blood on my hand.

It was a powerful moment, when helping someone else turned around and made my life more profound. This is what charity does... what love does. It spirals up. It makes their lives better, which makes our lives better, and so forth.

God, thank You for speaking to us through the poor.

1 comment:

julie reedy said...

So very true, when I would go to the outreach center to feed the homeless, I was the one who went home blessed every single time. Need to look for that here in Mission soon.