WWJD: got 50 cents for my crack habit?
34"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. 35For 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.' (NIV)
For me, this is one of the biggies as far as Jesus' ethical teachings go. Part of what i hoped to accomplish by living in the city and among the poor was to seize the opportunity to live this way. Physically though, most people i meet aren't hungry or thirsty, looking for an invitation or clothes or assistance. And if they are on my street they aren't in jail. We do donate clothes and food to the local Salvation Army and participate in a free Thanksgiving banquet every year. And i have corresponded with prisoners, although those experiences for me were never good ones. I did serve in an AIDS testing clinic in theneighborhood back in the 90's. But there are categories that Jesus didn't cover in this parable. And so i still ponder, what would Jesus have me do in these situations...
The stories are all variations on a theme, so tonight's isn't unique. Tonight, as i walked into the convenience store to buy milk a woman with tears in her eyes asked me for 50 cents to make a phone call, but not to tell the man inside that she was begging me for money. The woman was not poorly dressed, or emaciated, or anything. I had no change on me, so i told her i give her some after i bought the milk. I bought the milk and told the guy about the lady. He didn't care too much. I didn't get 50 cents change, so i gave her a quarter while she chatted amicably with another woman outside. She was "eternally grateful" for the quarter. I am not sure what i helped her with. I've given my milk change to others outside that convenience store. I'm positive she wasn't going to make a call. I don't know if she was trying to collect cigarette money or alcohol money or heroin money. In this area, people self-medicate.
So I'm wondering, having given those quarters that they spent on crack, in heaven, will Jesus say to me, "Well done, you did it for me?"