I took a road trip a few weeks ago.
To a town that got lost in time.
A group of people that were once neighbors, and are now forgotten.
A city of people that we don’t believe exists, or we simply pretend they don’t.
Poverty and pain so extreme I want to avert my eyes.
Put my hands over my ears and sleep long enough that I forget what I saw.
“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” James 1:27
“Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” Isaiah 1:17
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ Matthew 25:40
It is easier to give money at poverty and starvation, then it is to stare it down.
It is easier to serve at a distance, then to shake hands so dirty and discolored they are unrecognizable.
It is easier to pray for those locked out in the cold, then it is to sleep down the street from someone with no roof and no heat.
But I think we have to make time to go toe-to-toe with destitution, so that we are uncomfortable. So that we remember in our gut the Biblical command to serve Jesus by reaching the least of these.
It is important to look the least of these in the eyes, and hold their hand and feel their hunger and face their bitter cold, so that we remember what it is like to look Jesus in the eye.