Cultivate charity - 21 January 2019

Hennie Symington

“The righteous will then answer him, ‘When, Lord, did we ever see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? When did we ever see you a stranger and welcome you in our homes, or naked and clothe you? When did we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘I tell you, whenever you did this for one of the least important of these members of my family, you did it for me!’” Matthew 25:37-40

“The servant went back and told all this to his master. The master was furious and said to his servant, ‘Hurry out to the streets and alleys of the town, and bring back the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ Soon the servant said, ‘Your order has been carried out, sir, but there is room for more.’ So the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the country roads and lanes and make people come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you all that none of those who were invited will taste my dinner!’” Luke 14:22-24

I was hungry

and you started a human rights group to discuss the matter.

I was in prison

and you prayed silently in church for my release.

I was naked

and in your mind you wondered if I was decent enough for the church.

I was ill

and you thanked God on your knees for your health.

I was lonely

and you left me alone to pray for me.

You appear so holy and so close to God

but I’m still very hungry, and lonely and cold.

(Adapted from: Words for Worship, 1980)

The minute we forget that all people are created in the image of God, and are not just souls or bodies, we lose sight of the one who is suffering. But if you love your neighbour, as Jesus commands us to do, we cannot help but be concerned about them. We can risk letting people unlike ourselves into our lives, by practising the kind of hospitality that breaks social rules restricting us to our own class because we are doing it as if we were doing it for Christ.

According to our Christian belief every person has an inalienable worth as a person. Man, woman and child have all been created in the image of God. And if you believe this, let it become evident in all you do.

Prayer: Lord, we are not at ease with the poor and the suffering because they make us feel uncomfortable. We are not always prepared to carry that burden. But what if it were me or someone close to me? Amen

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