Today’s Scrip-Bit   9 December 2022 Matthew 25:40.

Matthew 25:40.       Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Now, the new day has dawned somewhat grey and overcast, but that doesn’t matter, because it’s Friday. Oh yes, the last day of the workweek is here and we are all overjoyed. Our shouts of freedom can be heard all over the world. ‘TGIF! Thank God it’s Friday and we can soon rest for two days from the agony of this modern slavery!’ 

And in some respects, the sentiments are quite true, because, in spite of our supposed modern society, a lot of workers are still not enjoying the benefits of our advances, but are unfortunately still stuck in old world ways of work through the greed and selfishness of their rich and predatory bosses. It’s surprising that in a world of plenty, there are still so many with so little. The problem is that too few have too much and have greedily set up the systems so that they can acquire even more off the backs of the many with little. 

But I guess that’s the way it’s been all down through the ages. Although one would have thought that in this supposedly enlightened and modern society of ours, the problem of equality would not be still such a big deal, and the distance between the haves and the have nots would not be so wide. ‘Wishful thinking,’ someone whispers in my ear. (smile) Why, in this day and age do we still have to fight tooth and nail to get a decent wage for a fair day’s work eh?. But it’s the truth. The richer are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer. 

People in the so-called third and fourth world nations would never believe the amount of poverty, homelessness, sickness and economic suffering that exists in these supposed first world countries. They all think that it’s a bed of roses, and beg, borrow and steal to get here, until they arrive and sadly discover that in many cases, they were better off where they came from. At least back there if they didn’t have a job or food, some friend or relative would share what little they had with them. But in the first world countries sharing with your neighbours is not the norm. 

And one aspect of the situation that’s so horrifying is the prevalence of food banks nowadays. People are working forty or more hours a week and still can’t afford to buy food for their families. I remember volunteering at a food bank many years ago, and they were few and far between at the time. It was only supposed to be a stop-gap measure. But now they are everywhere and desperately needed too. What with rents and prices for everyday items skyrocketing, but wages remaining stagnant, the ordinary man in the street needs help to feed and clothe his family. 

However, the food banks should not be a staple or standard of our society, because that would simply turn us into a bigger beggy-beggy society than we already are. Three quarters of the mail I receive is from charities asking for donations to support one thing or another. I give, and gladly too, but at times it just gets to be too much. You pick up the phone, it’s someone growling in your ear about giving. You open your e-mail, the same thing. And yet, despite all these supposed charities, the situation is not improving. The governments don’t care. They are only interested in getting in power and being able to milk the gravy train themselves. 

Oh my people, if we want to be a truly just and Christian society, we need to remember those who don’t have and treat them properly. Our God decreed that from way back when. Listen to these scriptures. In Leviticus, He says: ‘And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex (mistreat) him. But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born (native) among you, and thou shalt LOVE him as thyself: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.’ (Lev. 19:33-34) Yes friends, all of us were strangers in some land at some time or another, and because of that the Lord expects us to treat strangers properly. 

And Moses reminds the Israelites of God’s desire in Deuteronomy. ‘Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked (stubborn, rebellious). For the Lord your God is God of gods, and the Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward (the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality, nor takes a bribe). He doth execute the judgement of the fatherless and widow, and LOVETH the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. LOVE ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.’ (Deut. 10:16-19) 

And all through the Bible references can be found about treating the stranger, the widow and fatherless with LOVE and compassion. Jesus even told us that the second great commandment was to LOVE our neighbours as ourselves. (Matt. 22:39) And our neighbour includes anyone with whom we come into contact. Then there’s also this poignant and appropriate scripture from Hebrews. ‘Let brotherly LOVE continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.’ (Heb. 13:1-2) 

Yes my faithful brethren, Abraham (Gen. 18:13) and Lot (Gen. 19:1-2) did receive angels unawares. And although that might not happen nowadays, showing hospitality to the needy is still important and will be very beneficial in the long run. Please remember Jesus words after the parable of the talents, when He separates the sheep from the goats, and says to the sheep. ‘For I was hungered (hungry), and ye gave me meat (food): I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.’ (Matt. 25:35-36) 

And when the righteous in surprise asks when they dd all those things for Him. He replied: ‘Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.’ (Matt. 25:40) That should give us plenty food for thought my people! Now, through our Friday Chant, let’s go to God in humble but confident prayer, asking for His divine intervention in our less than stellar affairs. 

Altogether now: ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through this past week. You know it’s been rough… what with all the confusion and anxiety caused by our many serious problems. And you know Lord that we can’t fix them on our own, so we desperately need your help. Oh heavenly Father, with your omnipotent help, and our trusting faith, we know that we can stand strong and steadfast and defeat the simmering unrest in our land. So Lord, we sincerely ask you today to give those involved in the forefront of this serious and unexpected storm, the wise guidance to handle the situation properly, without further setbacks. And please help those of us who must go out to work amidst all the confusion, to be responsible and to stay safe. 

Also Lord, we fervently pray that You’ll use this situation to bring a lot of backsliders back to your fold, show them the error of their ways. And please introduce a whole new flock, who will embrace your LOVE and compassion by the example, we, your faithful believers set. Yes Lord, please use this pandemic, the bubbling discontent and dissatisfaction in our land, as a means of restoring faith in You, so that our sinful world can wake up and smell the coffee, wake up and smell it sweet and strong! We pray this in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen!’ 

Now friends, if we want to receive a positive answer to our prayers, then we need to get serious about the promises we’ve just made, obeying God’s word and living the life He desires us to live. Much LOVE!

…you can’t exploit the downtrodden…and expect to be rewarded by Christ… 

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