the least and the lemonade

On the second Saturday of every month a handful of people from my church go here.
I always intend to go with them. And I have a time or two (another post from another time here). But usually I just sleep in or go get coffee with a friend or jet off to a soccer game or birthday party.
But this Saturday. I went.
The group serves homeless people lunch in a park next to a large homeless shelter (the one in Same Kind of Different Than Me…if you’ve read the book) and the park is always full of "residents" as we are supposed to call them.

On the way to church I was feeling warm gooey good from doing something that I know God calls us to do. For doing something that I am passionate about, even though I don’t act on it near as often as I’d like. And I couldn’t wait for the drive home where I’d feel even better about myself.

After cooking and loading up we talked a little safety and had a short devotional.
It was the obvious verse.
The one about the least of these.

"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, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'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, 36I 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 25:35-36.

And I continued to feel all warm and good inside for being so obedient.
In my head I was replaying all the talk about serving the poor and being the hands and feet of Christ.

But she kept reading.

"Then the righteous will answer him, '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.'" Matthew 25: 37-39.

And it turns out that Christ in this passage wasn’t the do-gooder. He was the one receiving. I think maybe I’ve had it backwards all this time.

And so we headed out and set up. And the park was filled with the least of these.
Old, young, ill, smiling, cursing, talking to themselves, playing basketball, gardening, basking in the sun, dirty, hungry, thirsty and all waiting in my line.

Christ. Each and every one of them.

And they waited for me to pour them a cup of pink lemonade.
Which I did no longer with that good smug better than you feeling in my heart.
Instead I smiled. I looked them in the eye. And I tried to touch their hands as I handed off their cups. Because how often do you get to touch the Christ.

Today I did it at least a hundred times. Probably more.

4 comments:

Kristen @ Motherese said...

However you interpret the Bible story, you did a beautiful thing by serving the residents of the homeless shelter. I think you deserve to feel "warm gooey good." :)

Corinne said...

Oh Michelle, this was so good to read. What an experience for you, thank you for sharing with us.

Dawn said...

You made quiet an impression on Dave from Sunday School. He went on and on yesterday about how hard you worked!

TDM Wendy said...

Love it. Working on writing/creating a bible study for the women's ministry at my church along these lines. The first week (intro) I will be teaching out of Matthew 25. That's the plan anyway. Still many logistics and stuff to work out.