Where do you spend time with Jesus? I attend church. I go to a quiet room in my home and study the Bible. And in some seasons I will attend a small group to gather with other believers and study God’s word while building relationships with other people in my community. Although I know that all of these activities are good and beneficial I can’t help but wonder if I am in the right spot to truly discover who Jesus is and spend time with him. Church, devotions, and Bible study, in my experience, seem to be the 3 boxes a believer must check to know that he or she is on the right path spiritually. But Jesus tells us that we will see him in a much less comfortable and even disturbing role. We will see him hungry, thirsty, lonely, without clothes, sick, and imprisoned. And so I ask myself, when is the last time I saw anyone in any of these conditions? I feel like I have been conditioned to be OK with being the one who gives money to the needy, occasionally speaks out against injustice, and prays for the persecuted. But in what scenario am I face to face with the individuals behind the need? When am I face to face with Jesus? I have become so accustomed to “being good” that good has lost its luster, its humanity. How much better would I know Jesus if, along with sending money, I spent time with the homeless? Actually sharing a meal and having a conversation. How much more would I understand the heart of God if I spent time getting to know the stranger, giving my time to the outcast, showing up for the job of providing tangible love to the least of these. Is there a chance that when we feel disconnected spiritually it is because we are looking for connection with Jesus in all the wrong places? I am guilty of this. I am guilty of letting fear and time and my own selfishness get in the way of stepping out of my comfort zone and stepping into the circles that Jesus stepped in. The people circles where he spent most of his time. The people Jesus came to know, to love, and to rescue.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 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, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ ’” Matthew 25:34-36, 40