Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sheep and Goats

From my work on the Certified Lay Ministry Modules -- one of the hardest sets of Biblical Reflections yet:

Matthew 25:31-40
31 ‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory.  32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.  34Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” 37Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” 40And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”

Reflection Questions

  1. When have you seen Jesus hungry, thirsty, a stranger, naked, sick or in prison?  How can you help others see Jesus in the poor, the stranger, the downtrodden?  Everywhere, all the time.  We are all the hungry, thirsty, the stranger, naked, sick or in some kind of prison.  Christ is in all of us.  The question really isn’t about where we see those who are hurting.  The question is how do we see Christ in the hurting?  How do we see Christ in those we want to ignore?  How do we see beyond ourselves, our own needs, beyond those we care for, to see Christ in everyone?  I think I can help others see Christ in those around them by using the gifts I have been given – by teaching about it, by preaching about it, by witnessing to others about the presence of Christ, and hardest of all, sometimes, by seeing Christ in everyone myself, and then letting that knowledge change my actions.
  2. Whose job is it to see that the hungry are fed, the stranger welcomed, the sick visited, etc?  Yours and mine.
  3. How can you help others understand that it is not just the pastor’s job?  What are some of the ways you can encourage intentional ministry both within and beyond the walls of the church?  Think about ways in which you have felt cared for by others.  Which aspects of caring do you need to cultivate to become an example of Christ’s love to others?    I think some of the ways I can encourage intentional ministry is to affirm it, to encourage others to use their gifts in service, to provide opportunities for service and ministry, to speak about as lay leader in leadership meetings, and to intentionally do ministry.

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