I think the average person spends most of their life on cruise control. I know it’s that way with me sometimes. I have a certain handful of ultimate responsibilities. As long as I can just maintain, everything’s OK. They become the standard measurements by which I gauge whether my efforts, regardless of how minimal, are good enough. Is my wife happy? Check! Are my kids on a reasonable trajectory to become adults that I’ll be proud of? Check! Are all other miscellaneous components of my life and home in good working order (at least in appearance)? Check! Good. Sit back. Relax. Everything’s good.
Really? Everything’s good?
What about them?
“The hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, the imprisoned”
Matthew 25:41-46 says, “Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’ Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’ And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’ And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”
Take a look around. Really take time to evaluate what’s happening in the world around you. The kids who run through your neighborhood, do they have needs you can meet? The widow down the block, when is the last time someone offered to help with her yard, or simply stopped to visit? The stranger holding the sign at the corner, regardless of what you believe the truth of his situation to be, when is the last time he had a full meal and sat with someone who cares to hear his story?
Is it time to redefine the standards by which we measure the effectiveness of our efforts? Whether we take scripture like this literally or figuratively, divine truth or man’s opinion of what might happen, it should (at the very least) cause us to pause, look at the world around us, and ask ourselves, “is this really good enough?”