Bold faith is hard. It’s easier to be shy, reserved and laid back. But that’s not what the cross demands. It demands a bold reaction.
That’s why Jesus spoke mostly in parables. He tempered the Gospel in a way that we can understand and digest them. For our own kids, we have to do the same.
For example, today we’re going to take a very odd parable: The Sheep and the Goats from Matthew 25:
“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. 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, 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.’
“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? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“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.'"(verses 34-40 NIV)
Take it down so that kids can see the simplicity that Jesus was really talking about — seeing Him, even in “disguise”.
Most kids have watched shows or seen others in a disguise and then watched them revealed. At Halloween, people can show up at our doors looking for candy and we don’t recognize them. Heck, look at Melinda and me a few years ago:
We clearly are not a Greek Goddess and a Fifties girl on a regular basis…..although we would like to think differently….
These “disguises” can inhibit our capacity to see others that need our help on a regular basis.
A great place to start understanding what this looks like in modern times is to look at Blessed Mother Teresa. She founded an entire order of nuns, The Sisters of Charity, on this concept. Talk to your kids about her. She was amazingly cool. Just a little tiny, older woman who really rocked the world in the area of serving the poor. Show anyone a picture of her wrinkly, small appearance – especially children — and they can’t help but to say, “Whoa….who’s she?
But here’s what she said,
“Seeking the face of God in everything, everyone, all the time, and his hand in every happening;This is what it means to be contemplative in the heart of the world. Seeing and adoring the presence of Jesus, especially in the lowly appearance of bread, and in the distressing disguise of the poor.”
She got it.
We should see her as an example of how to interpret the parable of Matthew 25. Also, Google the term “Mother Teresa helping” and look at the hundreds and hundreds of images showing her in real action.
He wants to KNOW us.
He wants us to SERVE Him in everyday people — especially “in the distressing disguise of the poor”.
That’s it. Really.
Is it a bit harsh to say, “I want to see proof of your devotion”? Or, “Show me you love me”? It can feel that way.
Well, that’s what He was describing when he talked about who had treated the least of these in society — the hungry, the thirsty, the lonely — with the same love we would give Him. The transcendence of Jesus into others is mind boggling. Our human hearts would only see what was in front of us, not what was behind the eyes, the bars of prisons or on the streets.
So today, bring it down. Bring the message of Jesus in the “least of these” to a place of better understanding. You’re not dishonoring by doing so for children. You are making it more accessible, more tangible for little hearts.
When have you shown your kids where the “least of these” exist?
How can you encourage your kids to recognize Jesus in disguise?
Where is Jesus calling you to serve Him?