“‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’” (Matthew 25:34-40)
My fifth-grade teacher had a box on her desk for loose change that we collected and sent to an overseas children’s mission. We learned the children received food, clothing, vaccines, and were also baptized as a result of our offerings. One day, our teacher said that our offerings had lagged, and the children were not getting the help they needed.
Around the same time, my mother allowed me to take some quarters out of her wallet for my new bank. However, my mother did not give me permission to start stealing quarters for the alms box on my teacher’s desk. The once empty box soon overflowed with quarters. (Ironically, I was always THAT kid, the one who never had her lunch money or library fines.)
My mother soon approached me about my pilfering. I was afraid of her quick temper, and I knew stealing was wrong. Yet, when I explained my fears that these children would starve or might even die unbaptized without her quarters, her look softened and I was not punished.
I had ministered to my mother at that moment, and she to me. Money had been tight since my parents’ divorce, and our cupboards were sometimes sparse. Despite our circumstances, she saw Christ’s love for others and his love in action through my impassioned, nine-year old eyes. We had, through a few handfuls of her quarters, fed and clothed orphans, prevented their sicknesses, and most importantly, “welcomed them into the Lord’s family” through Holy Baptism (LBW).
Prayer: Loving God, we ask for pure hearts and grace to see the world through a child’s eyes. May we be so bold as to help others without first thinking of ourselves. May we give of ourselves freely to those who hunger and thirst; to those who are strangers and those who separate themselves from you; to those who lack basic necessities; and to those who are in prison or are imprisoned in any way. Kindle in our hearts, Lord, a desire to put your love into action in our world. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen