the least of these? sobering

Tomorrow I'll be teaching through one of the my top five most sobering passages.

Sobering? Yeah, it makes you take a deep breath.

It makes you check your heart beat and see if there is still blood passing through your veins. It is one that makes you have one of those huge, wishing you had more saliva, gulps that can be heard across the room. What are the top five? Well, I won't get into all of them... but you know that one in Matthew 7 about "Depart from me, you workers of iniquity"? That is on the top five. Or how bout the statement "It's time for judgment to begin with the house of God"? Yup, sobering.

Yet, tomorrow's passage is one that is in a direct collision course with the Christmas season. I'll admit, this time of year has hit me pretty hard now that my three year old little girl has a concept of gifts and giving. The Lord continues to expose greed and idolatry in my heart as I consider gifts for my wife, my daughter and myself. Add to it, we're preparing for little man, Josiah, to arrive before Christmas. Yeah, the Lord has been exposing some dark places within my entitled-generation, "speak it but are you going to live it?" heart.

What is the passage?

It's Matthew 25:31-46

I've been looking over it for the past several weeks. I've been haunted by it for years. While working at another ministry, a student (high-school) asked me while we were hiking, "Knowing God and knowing truth is great, but what does {insert name of ministry} do for the least of these?" I was taken aback at his question several years ago. Providentially, the ministry is knee-deep in ministering to the least of these, but it caused me to evaluate my own heart as if the Spirit was saying to me, "Jeremy, what are you doing for the least of these?"

If you read the passage, it seems that the one who does not minister to the needs of the least of these cannot be a Christ-follower. Those are hard words from David Platt's Radical. Yet, they aren't from David Platt; they're from Jesus. It causes me to look at my balance sheet in both ministry and personal finances. Again, the Spirit says, "Lucarelli, what are you doing for the least of these with the money I've given... to the church... to your family?"

Tomorrow, as my crew sets up a pancake breakfast for all of the College students that are in town (we're trying to let them know that they still have a place among us through they're away at school), as we light candles, sit in comfy chairs, evaluate the song choice, and look at our watches to see if the pastor is going over 12... these things will be happening around us:

 

See why it is sobering? What are some ways that you can tangibly ministry to the least of these (check out the passage to see the different things that fit into this category) this Christmas season and... for the rest of your life with Christ?

See why it is God's hilarious timing? Immediately after Black Friday, I'm led to deliver a message on "the least of these..."