Scripture tells us that all nations will one day gather before the throne of God where they will be separated into two groups: sheep on the right, goats on the left. The image of that day is a bothersome one.
"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? 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.'"
You want a litmus test to check your spiritual life? There it is. Matthew's letter leaves no question as to what Jesus expects from us. Plain and simple, it's how we share our blessings with those less fortunate than us.
Three weeks ago, my son Adam and grandson Drake were given an opportunity to do just that. They were seated in a Waffle House restaurant in Florida having breakfast when a homeless man, dirty and smelly, entered and walked toward Drake. Reaching into his pocket and pulling out a piece of paper, the man placed it next to my grandson's plate. "You look like the kind of person who would love apple pie, and I don't eat sweets, so here's a coupon for this restaurant."
Drake thanked the man who then sauntered away.
When Adam and Drake later walked outside, they noticed the homeless man pushing his shopping cart down the sidewalk.
Adam approached him and asked how he had ended up on the streets. Harold's story, much too long to include here, was a tale of hard luck -- "miracles straight from God," he called them. Within the hour, they were loaded into Adam's truck on their way to go clothes shopping, while the Waffle House manager watched Harold's cart. With help from Drake, they filled a Ross shopping cart and then returned to the restaurant.
It was then that Adam asked if Harold had a place to shower and was told that another man had purchased a room for him at a motel across the road, but when the manager saw Harold, he wouldn't let him stay. The next move was to load the shopping cart in the back of Adam's truck and drive to the motel.
Adam entered first and asked for a room for three nights. No problem. Adam was told the price, but as the manager started the paperwork, Harold came through the door, pushing his cart. The manager "re-checked" the computer and told Adam he had made a mistake -- the rooms were more expensive. Adam said to book them, anyway. The manager then said he had made another mistake -- there were no rooms. When Adam persisted, he was told the shopping cart was too big for the motel doors; Adam said he would prove otherwise. It was then that the manager left the lobby. When he returned about five minutes later, he not only had a room for Harold, but he and the maintenance man would "remove any unnecessary furniture" so the shopping cart would fit, too. Adam and Drake helped Harold move into his room, but before they left, Harold said he couldn't wait to get cleaned up and start looking for a job.
I asked Adam what caused the manager to change his mind. "Another miracle," I was told. I'm sure Harold would agree.