And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Matthew 25:40
Jesus said whatever we do for “The least of these,” we actually have done for Him. This shows me that when we reach out to the poor, the marginalized, the prisoners, and the broken, we are not being like Jesus to them; they are like Jesus to us. – Christine Caine
Have you ever given money to a homeless person? Kept a care package in your trunk to hand out on the street? How about serving food at a soup kitchen, shelter, community cafe? What about at Christmas? Made a box for Operation Christmas Child? Or Thanksgiving? Dropped food off at the pantry? Cleaned out your closets and donated? During one of our many, many natural disasters – did you send money? Bought water bottles? Served on a board for a nonprofit? Donated your time, your talent, or your treasure in any way at any time? Heck, did you go on a mission trip or build something? What about Habitat for Humanity? Ever helped with one of their projects?
Put a coin in the red tin can so that the guy ringing a bell outside Walmart would think you’re generous? Showing that stranger that your Heart is in The. Right. Place?
I hate to break it to you.
You were Not Jesus in those moments.
You were simply a good and giving person. Another person that made a kind gesture. Maybe a human follower of Christ’s teachings. Not to belittle the gift, as the gift is still significant. It is. But.
You gave To Jesus.
The people drinking those water bottles. Taking your money. Living in those houses you nailed together during that summer in Belize. Opening those Shoeboxes. Eating that pantry food. Using the services of that nonprofit. Holding the cardboard sign you may or may not have answered while sitting at the red light on that corner just the other day.
They were Jesus.
I have had the humbling and overwhelming opportunity to give to Jesus and to be Jesus. Giving to Jesus feels good. Being Jesus, well, that’s a bit more complicated.
Here’s the thing. In the past when I have given of myself, it’s been a source of pride. Thoughts such as – I am blessed enough to give; At least I’m better off than the current person/ disaster/ situation that I am gifting; If I have more than the person in need, then it’s time to consider sharing my bounty – these thoughts flood my consciousness and the invisible compliment in my brain about how Good I am fires off those neurons and the day, well, it just seems more hopeful. Humanity restored for the moment, and all because of some kind act that I did. See how that focus just goes right on me? A kind act I did.
But being Jesus. Well….
Being Jesus means being vulnerable and naked. Often soul weary tired.
Being Jesus means accepting the gifts of others on their terms and in their time. It means often accepting these gifts of soul and body nourishment even when they are wrapped in awkward packages. It means waiting for help from others because on your own is no longer feasible.
It means being open to the calamity of grace.
Being Jesus is one of the hardest parts I’ve ever played in my life. And right now it’s a part I will be playing for some more time to come, and all I can think is that Jesus has put me here on purpose. To humble me. To show me thankfulness. To show me my community. And let me tell you, the amount of support and gifting and lifting up is something I will never in my life forget. It has been tear streaking and breathtaking and beautiful and I will always be forever thankful and grateful to those people God has gifted to me for my life. So yes. He did it to humble me. But maybe, just maybe, also to make me think through all those times when I’ve given gifts myself.
Recently I had the privilege to witness a child receive a gift. Have you ever seen a child receive something precious? Maybe it was your own child on Christmas morning? Maybe it was the face of one adopted? Maybe that face came through mission work or summer camp or just a glimpse of pure happiness in a child’s expression in passing? The most vulnerable and naked and soul sensitive of humanity are the faces that bring us the most hope and joy and simplicity in our ability to love. They are the children of Christ and we, in our identical moments, become those faces of Jesus for others.
Imagine if in our giving, instead of feeling proud of our generosity, we felt anticipation and joy at the opportunity to meet Christ?
And….imagine if in our receiving we could see Jesus in ourselves?