Monday, January 26, 2009

Parable of the Model Christian

Andy Wade wrote on the Anawim:Radicals for Jesus cause on Facebook:

In the parable of the man who fell among theives Jesus redefined for us who our neighbors are - anyone we encounter who is in need. I'm challenged when I think about how I pamper myself; my needs, my wants. But what about the least of these? Oh, how I love myself while tossing leftovers to those in need.

I used to laugh, then cringe, when I heard stories of people sending used tea bags to missionaries. Now I'm caught wondering, "What are the used tea bags I'm offering the poor and homeless, my neighbors?" It's not about solving problems for people in need, it's about understanding that our humanity, our lives, are wrapped up with each other.

As I feast on Starbucks coffee and fresh scones, what shall I offer the one who gave me the bread of life and springs of living water? Used tea bags and a little stale bread? To cheapen my offering is to forsake the one who died for me. To offer my leftovers to those in need only produces spiritual malnutrition.

What do you think?

Once there was a wonderful Christian who loved his family, prayed daily and read the Bible frequently. He was wise and frugel and didn't waste money unnecessarily, taking care to save it up for a rainy day. Nevertheless, he didn't neglect his responsibility for the poor and needy. He would give out the socks that he couldn't wear anymore to the people on the street. He would give out the clothes that were so out of fashion that they were laughable to the Salvation Army. He would give watery broth and stale bread to the local soup kitchen. And he knew he was in favor with God, for he had done what Jesus wanted him to.

Then he died and he truly did enter Jesus' kingdom, for he was truly a good man at heart and loved Jesus. Jesus welcomed him with a hug and said, "Well, let's get down to it! I'll show you where you're going to live." And Jesus brought him to a cardboard shack. The man looked disapointed, so Jesus said, "Come in, I've got a feast waiting for you!" On the broken table inside the shack was a bowl of watery broth and stale bread. "And I have some clothes for you!" Jesus showed him his bed of newspaper and on it were the unfashionable clothes he had discarded to the poor.

In whatever we give to the poor, that is what we give to Jesus.

Whatever we give to Jesus, that is what we will live with for eternity.

"Sell your possessions and give to the poor and you shall have treasure in heaven."

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