One child, one family | How to change the world one at a time
As I was reading through Matthew 25 yesterday, a word jumped out at me. It is a word that has always been there, but that caught my attention in a new way.
As I have been studying God’s heart for the fatherless and the others whom Jesus calls “the least of these”, I have been reading again through the hundreds of verses in the Bible that deal with poverty, justice and compassion.
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who 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 drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’
Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’
Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’
Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. (Matthew 25:35-46 ESV)
There is that little word: one.
This passage should challenge us. As a result of technology and globalization, we are connected to people around the world in a new way. As never before in the history of the world, we see children in Africa who are starving to death. We see families who do not have access to clean drinking water. We see communities decimated by AIDS. We see countries torn apart by conflict. Never before have people been so confronted by the brokeness of this world we live in.
Yet we are overwhelmed. Children become nothing more than statistics. We close our eyes to the very real needs of the people Jesus calls “the least of these.” We fail to do what he is calling us to do because it seems too hard. And he is clear that the authenticity of our faith will be judged on this point. If we do not have God’s heart towards the least of these, we do not know God.
But God is not calling us to fix the brokenness of the whole world. He is calling us to one.
One child, one family, one church, one community.
We can make a huge difference in the life of one. Adoption can be a beautiful example of this. We cannot help all of the 8 million children who go to bed tonight at an orphanage, but we can change the life of one child at a time. Adoption is a miracle for the small number of children who are truly without family.
What do you think? What are some other ways we can be God’s heart to “one of the least of these”?
Over the last month, I have been working on a new project. I am writing a book. I have always wanted to write a book, but have never had a story that I had to tell. But I believe I have found a topic that will compel me through several hundred pages of research, writing and editing. As I continue in the process of writing, I hope to give my readers a peek into what I am learning. Please comment and let me know what you think. I am looking for people who have a story to tell as a part of my book. I’m also looking for my ‘red team’ – friends willing to be ruthless editors and critics of my writing and my thoughts. If you share my passion for this topic and want to contribute a story or join the red team, let me know.