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  • Writer's pictureLaura Kae

Community: the least of these

I was on the phone with one of my favorite people. I don’t always like this favorite person. They are an interruption in my life; but more than that, they are one of those people who are not likely to ever give me anything back – other than the knowledge that I will be rewarded in heaven for loving them with the love of our Lord.

Don’t get me wrong. I am far from spiritually superior to this person. I think I can learn at least as much from them as they can from me when it comes to a relationship with Christ. I know I could learn an unfathomable amount from someone who has made it through such a hard life as they have had and yet clung to the hope we have in our Lord Jesus Christ.

I was on the phone with this person. They were pouring out their current struggle to me. This person is not a complainer. In fact, I am not sure I have ever heard them complain in their life. No whining. The person doesn’t always take personal responsibility for the parts of the shit hitting the fan in their life that are their fault, but doesn’t whine or complain either.

At one point in the conversation, my friend noted, “Laura, people just don’t like me.” I don’t remember how I responded. The first response that comes to mind is a resounding “Amen”. I know I didn’t say that. I might have laughed and said, “That’s true.” There was no reason to say something stupid like “Oh, no! That’s not true at all. Don’t say that about yourself. People like you. You just aren’t good at recognizing it yet.” There was no reason to say something stupid like that because both my friend and I knew it wasn’t true. People don’t like my friend.

I know Proverbs says if you want to have friends you must be friendly. My friend is really friendly. People don’t like my friend anyway. They simply can’t deal on any level with the amount of trauma and pain my friend has been through. It’s too much, and they turn away from my friend.

At some point, my friend directly asked for my advice. I had no idea what to say. I tried to give my friend a few tips based on what I know about meeting people where they are at and leading them toward Christ one baby step at a time, but I could not give much advice. I certainly had no real solution outside of being able to say, “Someday we will experience healing in heaven.” The person’s need was far beyond what I could fill or had any idea how to ever meet.

At some point during the conversation I tried to imagine how my pastor would respond to the need I was trying to meet and the advice my friend was requesting. I thought about how the people at the local 501c3 Christian organizations would respond to my friend’s theology and need. I wondered what they would think of me for even being friends with this person. Going somewhere with this person is an interesting occasion because my friend spoke truth when they said, “Laura, people just don’t like me.”

About here in the conversation, I felt myself start to pull way from the person. I didn’t want to be with someone that the cool people didn’t think was cool. I wanted to be with the cool people, but how could I be if I communed with this person? My friend didn’t know I was pulling away. My friend was still talking. It wasn’t my turn to talk yet. I didn’t have a chance to say something that would subtly build distance in the conversation to free me from a deeper relationship.

As I was thinking these things, God told me, “I said ‘the least of these’”.

Do you ever have those moments in life when something you have been preaching for years suddenly is preached to you and you actually hear it? It was that moment when I realized that God didn’t call me to the “cool” people. He didn’t ask me to give a cup of cold water to the ones who are applauded by the masses either inside the Church or outside of it. He never said to invest in the people who will be patted on the back by my pastor for their theology. He never asked me to feed, clothe and visit the popular followers of Christ. He asked me to do these things for those who are not popular. The forgotten, the lame, crippled, blind, mute. My time is not to be spent investing in the high achievers but in those who by all appearances will never be able to achieve much. The ones who will never be able to repay me back. The ones that most people just don’t like and would never take time for.

Isn’t it interesting how God narrows it down in Matthew 25 to how we treat “the least of these” not the “average of these” or “the ones we like of these” or “the ones that will make us look good of these”. Eternal reward seems to be based on how we treat the least – the ones that are passed over and forgotten. In the case of my friend, the ones that are simply not liked.

God has given me such an opportunity in my life right now to serve “the least of these”. It has been a pleasure. It definitely has been much more fulfilling than serving the externally “greatest of these” ever was.

“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.’” Matthew 25

How do you serve the “least of these”? Which of the people you are invested in are ones that the “cool” people in your social circles would have nothing to do with and would despise you for investing in?


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