I see the pictures. I see the naked, crying, hungry children and women displayed on practically every screen of the news. I see parents and friends of children cry on television as they moan and bemoan the loss of their loved ones. What is my response? It is soft. Let me pray about it. I will really, REALLY, REALLY pray about it. How often have I said this?
What I really mean is: ‘Leave me alone, I have my own problems and I don’t want this to crowd out my personal concerns.’
My prayer is a lame excuse, a soft response for doing nothing. I ask God to do what He has told me to do. I appear holy, pious and a deeper thinker, while all the time I continue to enrich my life with things that are important to me and mine. I ignore the real pain of doing something meaningful by doing soft things like group prayer, chain prayer, Facebook prayer, Instagram prayer and a host of other soft things.
I put my loose change in the McDonald’s charity box or seasonal Salvation Army Kettle, give a generous tip to the apparent immigrant waiter and of course, as a ‘sincere follower of Jesus’, pay my tithes.
The problems and challenges in front of me are obvious. The needs of the hungry, the naked, the sexually abused and exploited are just a remote screen click away. I must click quickly to something pleasurable, before feeling the other painful events unfolding either in my neighborhood, nearby county or other parts of the globe. My soft response is a lame excuse;’ let me pray about it.
Actually the Holy Spirit is asking me to become personally involved with these who are hurting, as He is personally involved with me.
My Father holds me personally responsible, not for the outcome, but for my response. The outcome is beyond my personal control. My response however is what He holds me personally accountable for, both now and in eternity. You were hungry, thirsty, naked, in prison and sick and I prayed about it.
40 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.
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.