Thursday, November 20, 2008

Standing in for The King (Number 5 in a series)

“When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
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: 31-40 (KJV)

On the road to California, I met a lot of people. Whenever I stopped for gas, I’d see their eyebrows raise a bit at the sight of this little car with its big load. As I registered at motels, desk clerks would see the address on my driver’s license and smile kindly. At roadside rest stops, the other folks would smile and we would exchange a greeting.

None of these people knew me or knew of my circumstances. Yet each one of them was acting as though we were old friends or at least long-time acquaintances. In the entire five days, I only had one less-than-pleasant encounter. He wasn’t awful, mind you, just slightly rude – it was only the contrast of all the others that made it seem bad.

Now it could be that all of those nice folks I met had just won a big prize or gotten some great news and were in terrific moods. Maybe I was just the coincidental beneficiary of their warmth. But I have an explanation I much prefer.

I’d like to think that I was blessed to meet people who were living Matthew 25. They weren’t so nice to me just because I’m me – they didn’t even know me. But I was there, a representative of the ‘least of these my brethren,’ and they did it for the King. Of all the plans to save the world, rebuild the economy or create peace, I don’t think any plan can work better than this one: See Jesus in everyone and treat them as you would Him.

There is an old recording by Grandpa Jones of a poem called “Conrad’s Christmas Guest.” His is not the only version, but it’s my favorite. It talks about a man making great plans to welcome the Lord into his home for Christmas, only to find them totally disrupted as he gives away everything he had obtained to people in need who come to his door. It is a wonderful reminder of the importance of giving the right gift to Him – ourselves.

When was the last time you did something for someone simply because you would have done for Jesus, if He asked? How did you feel afterward? You can get that feeling again – simply see Jesus in others and act that they may see Him in you.

© 2008 Mary Beth Magee

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