My thoughts (Angela Eden):
Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me — you did it to me.”
When my father passed away, it felt like all 20,000 citizens of my sleepy hometown came by the funeral home during calling hours to pay their respect. Flanked by my two sisters, we stood casket-side to greet each one. Time and time again, our hearts were warmed by kind words about the man whose influence extended far beyond our family circle. One testimony stood apart from all the rest and comes back to me daily.
Shelly was a woman with a mental disability. She rented a small apartment and rode a bicycle to her dishwashing job at the local restaurant. When I saw her, waiting alone in the long line, I couldn’t imagine what she had to say. She started like all the others, “Your dad was a good man.” She then went on to share with us about the time she experienced her first winter on her own. She had just moved into her apartment, and found the heating to be less than ideal. She called in to the local radio show where callers could buy or sell various items. According to her, she had no sooner made her request to buy a used electric heater when there was a knock upon her door. Swinging it open, she found my father there with a brand new heater from the local hardware store. The catch in her voice told me how much this simple act of kindness meant to her. I suspect she was used to being overlooked and ignored. One act of thoughtfulness stayed with her for years. And now that act stays with me.
When I was younger, I thought this scripture set a standard I’d never meet and so, I stopped trying. I assumed Christ was telling us to be missionaries, to take vows of poverty, and to toil endlessly for some great cause. Now, thanks to Shelly, I understand these words differently. I understand the power of random acts of kindness; acts that need not be grand, just genuine. And I understand that the best way for me to try to “be” Christ is to simply, stop and “see” Christ in everyone.
Thought for the Day: For today, look for a “Shelly” opportunity to serve God and treat someone like you would treat Jesus himself.
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.