Sunday, November 23, 2014

When I Was Hungry

Our sermon this morning was based on this scripture.  I have heard it so many times, and it always makes me think if I am loving and serving in the way I should.  

Matthew 25:31-46New International Version (NIV)

The Sheep and the Goats

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 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, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.

The other day I had a young woman come in my yarn shop.  She told me she had been wanting to come in ever since she saw us sitting on the porch knitting and crocheting on Worldwide Knit In Public Day which was about four months ago. 

She was a small, pretty girl and she had brought a bag with her to carry the yarn in that she wanted to select.  She went back into the shop and began to gather yarn.  She filled up her bag, so I took her a basket and asked her what she was planning to make with all this yarn.

She began to tell me that she wanted to make a colorful granny square afghan and put it all together with black.  I told her of one that I have that my mother made many years ago, purchasing 25 cents worth of yarn each week.  Then she asked me about how to stitch it together, and I told her she could come by any time and I would help her figure out a method that she liked.

After she piled many, many skeins of yarn on my counter, she began to tell me that she hadn't been out of her apartment for months, and this was her first venture out in public and she was enjoying talking to me.   She explained that she was bipolar and had great difficulty going out in public.  She told me about her medication and how it had helped her.  She thanked me for offering to help her.

I invited her to come to Memories any time and sit with me and others and work on her crocheting.  She seemed excited but timid at that prospect.

After she had visited for about an hour, she asked me to add up her purchase and she would have her boyfriend withdraw the cash and come back later to pay me and pick it up.  

This is when I realized that I would probably not see her again or her boyfriend.  And I was right.  She has not come back.  It didn't bother me at all, as I saw a much greater purpose in her visit than how much yarn she was to buy.

In reflecting on this, and explaining to my husband, we decided that I was able to give her just what she needed.  She needed someone to listen to her, let her build her confidence in going out in public, validate her dream of the beautiful afghan, and someone to talk to her and treat her like the valued person that she is.  I felt like God sent her to me, and I somehow gave her what she needed that day.

I will pray for her that she will get brave and go out again and that she will get to make that afghan she is dreaming of.  Hope and dreams and faith in the good in this world can help us all move forward in life with confidence.  I pray she will grow in her confidence.  I pray that she has someone in her life to love her and take care of her.

God wants us to treat each person we meet with love and respect and have no concern for what that person can do for us, but what we can do for them.  I pray that I will never miss an opportunity to reach out to others.  Everyone needs love, a smile, a hug.