Matt 25:35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
James 1: 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Social Justice, God’s Heart
Social Justice was on Jesus’ heart. He had compassion for the poor and the disenfranchised. He told us to consider taking care of the poor as if we were taking care of Him. That is how important they are to God. God’s expectation is that we will not just accept the gifts that He has given us, but that we will share them with others in His kingdom. The bottom line is that social justice should be as much on our hearts as it is on God’s.
The question becomes, how are we doing what Matt 25 speaks of? The question may be, why are we not doing it? This should be a part of who we are as God’s people. This is one of the ways the world should “know” us. We are “the church that takes care of the poor”. What an amazing testimony. But, the job is so huge. Where do we start?
Can you make a sandwich?
I was speaking at a conference last year, talking about social justice and faith. A young man asked, “How can we do this? We are such a small group. We are young.” I asked without hesitation, Can you make a sandwich? The group chuckled. I am serious. Can you make a sandwich? “Well, yeah” he said. Then you can feed the poor. It is that simple.
You see, one of the obstacles that we need to overcome is the pomp and circumstance of our own church “programization.” It does not take a committee to feed the poor. It takes a few people with a heart to be incarnational and some bread, cold cuts, mayonnaise and juice boxes. My eight year old can do it. We have made ministry a profession. Something people need to train for. This is not always the case. When it comes to the poor in our own cities, it is as simple as sharing what you have with those that don’t.
One of the ways we do this is, twice a month, during church, we send a team downtown to feed the homeless. We get together before church, bringing meat, bread and juice boxes. We make the lunches together (100 of them), as a church, and then send our team downtown to give them out. The team consists of 4-6 people ages 8-63. They just walk down Ste. Catherine St. in Montreal and hand out lunches to street people. We do this during church because it is an extension of our church. It is simple. No frills. No qualifications.
I want to encourage every community to find simple ways to do what God asks of us in Matt 25. It may be visiting a prison or shut-ins, or feeding the poor. Because if we do it to the least of these……
The people downtown have come to know us. They expect us. We get to feed them, hear their news and pray for them sometimes. We love them, first because Jesus did, and now because we know them. Hopefully, they get a glimpse of Jesus, because we are doing what He asked us to.
Kim Reid, Church Planter
The Open Door, Pierrefonds , QC