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Friday, January 20, 2023

Matthew 25:40

"The Least of These"

Message summary: Today, let us ask ourselves, when we come into contact with people regarded by the world as the “least of these”. “How does God want me to reach out to those considered the least on these?”

Note: Podcast not prepared for this message.

“I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).

In the late eighties and the early nineties we were involved with a humanitarian outreach available to third world families called "Healing the Children". The purpose was getting medical intervention for children from other countries with severe medical conditions where advanced treatment was unavailable in their own country.

At that time we, and several other families in our church in Northern Pennsylvania, became host families to these very needy children. Over the course of several years we hosted two boys and two girls from Guatemala, including Ester, as well as a girl from Ecuador and a boy from Afghanistan. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of our lifetime. Heber, our first child died several years ago but had some 20 years of life following his heart surgeries. We still have contact with the other two in Guatemala.

“Healing the Children” volunteers and airline attendants escorted the sick children from Guatemala and other countries to a U.S. Airport where they would then be transported to their host families. After they underwent life-saving surgery, recovery, and therapeutic intervention they would then be returned to their own families. Saying good-bye was the most difficult task for us emotionally after they’d lived with us as our own children for months at a time. Thankfully, Ester, the fourth child who came to us from the Guatemalan orphanage at three months of age, became a Weber in time!

It was such an honor to have helped these families whose children were not expected to live apart from the voluntary efforts and donated expenses from the hospitals, doctors, host families and the HTC voluntary staff who arranged for transportation, visas, etc. Children such as these are often looked upon by many, even in their own countries, as "the least of these".

The Bible teaches that one of the truest evidences of an authentic follower of Jesus Christ is our attitude and our response toward "the least of these". One of the last lessons Jesus taught before His death was on this subject. In Matthew 25:32ff He uses representative examples of those who might be referred to as losers, the unlovely, the damaged in society, etc. He called these "the least of these".

Our approach toward the “least of these” is proof of our true discipleship. In this parable the way we deal with the “least of these” determines whether we are a sheep or a goat.

I am heartened by examples of grace demonstrated to the least of these. All over the world today both institutionally and individually true followers of Christ are actively demonstrating compassion to a hurting, broken and sin-filled world. Some will give up their own life’s ambitions and resources to help others find meaning and purpose in life. I consider a medical doctor who has spent much of his career, risking his own health, working at a mission hospital deep in Africa where he treats a huge population of AIDS patients.

Matthew 25:40In our own little world we have seen it often; those who give their time and energy to protect the unborn by reaching out to those in a crisis pregnancy; those who expand their family to welcome displaced, abused or orphaned children; those who regularly visit the prisons bringing the hope of the gospel to inmates who might otherwise perish in hell; the street preacher who faithfully proclaims the Scriptures in the public square to mostly scoffing, uninterested passersby; compassionate people who embrace and lovingly engage the mentally and/or physically handicapped, dedicated workers who risk their lives to deliver Bibles to closed countries where believers are desperately desiring a copy of the inspired Word of God.  And, of course, there are so many who cannot go or do but give abundantly of their finances to support those who can. This is only a partial list of so many examples we could write about today.

The needs are vast and always will be until we’re called home. The opportunities are unending and wide-ranging so that when we respond to God’s leading He utilizes our skills, our knowledge, our training and experiences in life. He equips us for that which He calls us to do.

Today, let us ask ourselves, when we come into contact with people regarded by the world as the “least of these”, “How does God want me to reach out to those considered the least on these?”

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen and Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Loving Father, we don’t want to turn the other way when You bring into our view the hurting and neglected people of the world. When we see the hungry or thirsty, the stranger in need of clothing, the sick and frail, those imprisoned, and the countless other oppressing needs among us Your loving compassion compels us to reach out in whatever way we can to be an extension of Your kingdom. For we know that when we do it for those considered the least on earth we not only empower and bless them but we also obey and please You. May the “evidence of the grace of God” be visible in our attitudes and in our actions as we respond to the opportunities You give us everyday. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"The Least of These" Video  Matt Maher

Weber couple photo 7/3/22
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Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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