Sunday, July 20, 2014

What If?

A Short Story with a Funny Take on Serving Jesus, but Maybe Not So Funny

A scruffy old man was late walking into a large beautiful church.  He had on the rattiest old, torn clothes, while he walked up to the front of the church, walking by nicely dressed people sitting and staring and shunning him.  He reeked because he was homeless and hadn't had a bath in a week.  There were whispers of displeasure that he walked in.  They all gasped at the smell and mocked his dress.  The pastor was preaching eloquently, as always and suddenly stopped, as the old man made it to the altar.  "May I help you?  I am in the middle of a sermon old man".  The old man sat right in front and listened, saying nothing.  The preacher was put out and so uncomfortable, and the deacons asked the man to leave, but he continued to sit and listen.  The people in the seats started to insult him and wanted him to leave, but he sat and was ready to listen to the sermon.
The preacher was indignant, all dressed in the finest suit and tie, with his hair all in place.  He couldn't go on preaching.  "Look mister, you don't belong here.  Go find a shelter", the preacher insisted.  The old man then stood up very boldly and insistently and ask what the preacher was preaching on.  The preacher hesitantly told him Matthew 25:31-46.  The Judgment.  "May I read the passage"?, the old odorous unkempt man asked.  The pastor and all the congregation laughed but let him.  "But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right and the goats on His left.  Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation 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; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to me.  
Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink?  And when did we see You a stranger, and invited You in, or naked, and clothed You?  When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?  Then the King will answer and say to them, 'Truly, I say to you, to the extent you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even to the least of them, you did it to Me.
Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me'.  
Then themselves will also answer, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?  Then He will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me".  These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life".  Every face in the crowd paled as he was talking, including the preacher.  Men and women fainted in their seats and screeched in horror.  Right in front of their eyes, as the old man read, the old man began to change into a beaten, bloody, nail scarred young was Jesus who walked into the church that day.  Funny, though it may not seem.  Isn't funny how we set standard for others, who can walk into our churches, how they should dress, how they should come from the right background?  But Jesus came for the sinners not the righteous.  And Matthew 25 states if you feed and clothe and help strangers, you are doing it to Him.  I think Jesus in this story got the last laugh, but also grieved for the people who denied Him.

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