Combination

0
42

Contributing Writer
Pastor Scott Hannon
St. John Lutheran Church Amherst, NY

You see a hungry person, what do you do?

You come across a naked hobo in the street, how do you respond?

You see or hear about a family in need, do you give?

You have a friend in the hospital, in prison, or homebound, do you visit?

If you’re like me the answer to those questions is a combination of yes and no. I feed the hungry, but not always. I very recently emptied my closet for an inmate who was released from prison, but I don’t always respond to people who need clothing. I help families in need, but I also turn people away. I have visited the sick, the imprisoned, and the homebound; I have also failed to do the same.

All of this is why the gospel lesson for this past Sunday gives me hope and haunts me so much. Jesus says, “Just as you fed, gave water, gave clothing, cared for and visited the least of these, you have done it unto me… And in the same way, just as you did not do it to the least of these you did not do it unto me.” (Matthew 25:31-46)

Jesus makes the claim that as citizens of His Kingdom we ought to be about the business of caring for, feeding, clothing, and visiting those in need. He says to do so is to inherit the Kingdom of God and eternal life. He also says to not do so is to endure harsh eternal consequences. And so, when I read this story I find myself wanting to believe that I am on the right side of things- that I do good, but I also find myself convicted and conflicted for I know that I do not always respond to those in need.

My guess is most of you are a lot like me.

We make excuses. We reason our way out of helping people. We convince ourselves that by offering aid we are just rewarding bad behavior. We turn a blind eye to this Bible verse and all others that compel us to social justice. We change the channel, we turn our eye, we build our walls, we move to our suburbs. We consistently find ways to justify our inaction and then pat ourselves on the back for giving a buck to a bum.

God is calling us to stop being a “combination” people. God wants more feeding, clothing, caring and visiting. God wants us to respond to the needs around us – and not because we want to gain a heavenly reward, but because it is who we are. The only way this will ever happen is if we step out of the kingdom of this world and step into the Kingdom of God.

Read Matthew 25:31-46 and then answer these questions again.

You see a hungry person, what do you do?

You come across a naked hobo in the street, how do you respond?

You see or hear about a family in need, do you give?

You have a friend in the hospital, in prison, or homebound, do you visit?

Don’t do it out of guilt. Don’t let fear or shame motivate your action. Feed, clothe, care and love because it is who you are.

Still a combination of both – but working on it,

Pastor Scott

For more inspiration and insights from Pastor Scott and Pastor Shawn’s past columns, please visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on the Faith Matters page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.

Previous articleSock Stuffing
Next articleJamestown Coin Club Contributes to Mental Health Association
Pastor Scott Hannon
Pastor Scott serves the people of St. John by helping the congregation welcome everyone, care for one another, and grow in the joy of God’s love through Jesus Christ. Pastor Scott earned his bachelor’s degree at the University at Buffalo and went to seminary at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, SC. He is currently pursuing his Doctor of Ministry degree with an emphasis in preaching from Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. Pastor Scott and his wife, Kate, live in Bowmansville, NY with their children Molly, Delaney, and John Scott. Scott and Kate love Western New York for many reasons, not the least of which are the changing seasons, wonderful people, and of course the Buffalo Bills. Pastor Scott’s ministry priorities are worship, preaching and teaching. Scott’s hobbies are guitar, golf, and reading. To read some of Scott’s musings visit his blog Way-ward at www.psdh.org.