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“What it Takes”

August 29, 2022
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Matthew 25:40

40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of Mine, you did it for Me.’

“Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org”

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The least of me and the least of these. That is what it takes. Do I have what it takes?

I think I am a good Christian. I study his word, I tell others about it, I teach my children about his love, I do my best to live like Jesus, and I genuinely believe that “Love God, Love People” and “Go and Tell” are the mission statements of my entire life. I am not perfect at it by any means, but I get up every day and try with all the strength I have and all the strength he gives me.

However, even though I know I am reaching for heaven and fixing my eyes, I still question myself. Am I doing enough, believing enough, faithful enough, sharing enough? Where is the measurement that tells me I am doing the most I can do? I go to his word to seek how to do the most and find that what matters more lies in the least I can do.

“to the extent that you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of Mine. . .”

Uh-oh.

Not going to lie. I love God and love people—but there is always that one soul that I shake my head at and make southern-style commentaries like “bless her heart” in my mind. Here’s a question . . . how many of us have actually looked up the definition of least so we would be clear about which ones specifically were the people we were to focus on the most. The poor? The sick? The broken? The least?

I will admit it. I looked it up. It means least in size, amount, and dignity. Very little. Very small. Smallest. Another question—you ever felt any of those things? Have you ever felt small? Out of place? Vulnerable?

I would be shocked if that was a no.

Guess what. Everyone is vulnerable. All humans are created equally. Equally full of faults and fears. Equally valuable. Equally vulnerable. That means every person I encounter may be feeling least. That means if I treat the least like Jesus, I treat everyone like Jesus. Even the complainers, even the ones that grate on my nerves, even the ones holding up the car rider line, even the one that made that nasty comment on my post, even the one that wrecks that fun event every time. (By the way, little side note, I must never forget that sometimes that person is me. That humbles quick.)

I guess I could walk around trying to only worry about the obvious poor and the visibly sick. That is the way many interpret that verse. Focus on those that have less. That have more struggle. That are battling hard circumstances beyond their control. But what if you can’t see it? What if they are all those things and they hide it well? What if the person that gets on my nerves so much is on the edge of broken and just refuses to let anyone else know it?

Whatever I do to them, I am doing that to Jesus, whether I knew it or not. More proof that I can’t choose who is least because we all are.

Name a person that is not hurting, or has not experienced loss of any kind, or never has experienced heartbreak. All equally vulnerable. This means I must treat the beggar as kindly as the bestie. This means my love does not have limits or excuses. This means if I am really worried about treating others like Jesus, I probably would not have all this time to worry about myself. This means what it takes is the least of me and the least of these.

I really want to have what it takes.

Father, help me to take action on your directions to love all. Let me not be distracted by outward appearances and focus on the humanity that we all share. Let me be a light for all those in need, no matter what the need is.

Shannon Leach is an inspirational encouragement writer and the owner of A Repurposed Heart and ARH Inspirations. Her authentic stories and books about leadership, life, and loving people focus on encouraging others and reminding them they are not alone. Her work can also be found in Guideposts and multiple Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and is the co-founder of the nonprofit The Fostered Gift.
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