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Beyond self pity and pride

Monday, February 26, 2007

Matthew 25:37-40
"Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?"

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."

Who are the least to me? I've asked that question before, inspired by a college friend who became a minister in Indianapolis. He asked himself and his congregation that question, then got trained to be a companion for AIDS patients and became involved with several men as they neared death.

I have become somewhat insulated since then, less involved with poor, lonely, broken people than I want to be and need to be.

Jesus put his arms around many people the world scorned. But the "least" in his eyes were often the "greatest" in their own. Not for long, of course. The results of arrogance, pride and narcissism pile up quickly and leave their owners with logs in their eyes, boulders on their shoulders, much face to save, and a withered relationship with God.

"Least" and "greatest" are ways I see myself and others as projections of myself. When I am in relationship with you I don't forget about myself, but I count what happens between us as a much higher priority.

Paraphrasing Will Rogers, God might say he never made a man he didn't love. I think that's because he sees his relationship with me as a much higher priority than what he gets out of it, or what I get out of it. And when I apply that principle to life with another person, it's always true that the two-of-us is far greater than the sum total of the parts.

Lord, you present every one of us daily opportunities to give and receive. We are all least, we are all greatest at times in our own eyes. I want to see through that, Lord, and let you make me a brother to others, a son to you. In your way.

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