I just walked in the door from a hike across the surrounding cornfields. I started the hike out of a desire to get out of the house, and enjoy some fresh air. While I was walking I began to think about life, and the things that occupy my time, space, and those precious moments. I so often let those “things” crowd out what’s most important, and give way to what is immediately gratifying to myself. Whether it’s dropping $4 to rent a movie, avoiding an opportunity to develop an important relationship, or buying a bag of chips at the gas station I find it far to easy to follow the road most traveled rather than live a purposeful, devoted life.
I have too much. Not only that, but I desire too much. Two years ago when I spent 8 days in Mare Rouge, Haiti I saw a totally new level of poverty – extended families were living together in a hut the size of my bedroom, they had to walk one or two hours a day to get drinking water, and they shared the same amount of food for one day that I normally eat in one meal. These people were truly poor. And yet they weren’t. In all my life I had never seen people so happy. Joyful really! These were people who had no hope of ever making a living beyond what they needed that day, or doing anything other than hoeing their fields. But when they got together to worship the Lord, they really worshipped! The singing was loud and beautiful, and the preaching (though I couldn’t understand most of it) was sincere.
Though so poor, these people were rich!
Me on the other hand… I have almost everything I want. A car that runs most of the time (is it really a trial when it doesn’t run right, or just an inconvenience?), a steady job, a warm house that’s more than big enough for the four in my family, and countless other… blessings. Or are they really blessings? I complain about my car being a clunker, that my job can be difficult and trying at times, that the house is drafty and cold, and… should I even mention church? Why do I, who has everything I might need, find it so hard to be joyful? I believe that it is misplaced priorities and faulty desires that have replaced the simple joy of worshipping Christ, and living solely for him. Not only that, but these priorities and desires crowd out better, even higher, priorities and desires – those called for by Christ himself: Care for the fatherless and the widow, proclaim the gospel, et cetera.
When the Son of Man and all His angels come in His glory, He will sit on His throne. Every nation will come before Him, and He will separate them from each other – like a shepherd separates his sheep and goats. He will put the “sheep” on one side, and the “goats” on the other.
Then the Son of Man will say to the righteous, “Come, you who are blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom I prepared for you from the beginning: for I was hungry and you fed Me, thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, an outsider and you welcomed Me, poor and you helped Me, sick and you visited Me, in prison and you came to Me.”
But the righteous will say, “Lord, when did we see You hungry, thirsty, or an outsider and welcomed You? When did we see You poor, sick, or in prison and helped You?” And the Son of Man will reply, “Certainly, inasmuch as you saw one of the least of these My brethren, and helped them, and did it to Me.”