Monday, June 30, 2014

The least of these


By Terri Asseal

Pastor Yvette Davis led the Annual Conference in the study of God’s Word as recorded for us in Matthew. Using the parable of The Sheep and the Goats, Jesus, who is the Great Shepherd, the Sacrificial Lamb, reveals to us three key characteristics of his sheep and how we are called to minister to the least of these.

Sheep are all about relationships and the importance of sticking together when predators come. Sheep learn their name and hear even the whisper of their shepherd. They are reluctant to go anywhere they cannot see clearly, so even as they are walking along, they stop and look so they can see the details.

So what is it to be the sheep in God’s pasture? Who are the least of these? When they are in our path, do we recognize them?

When we are filled with the Holy Spirit we start to think, move, and serve differently. As sheep, we have to stop and see detail. The great gift that we have from God is the gift of the fruit of the Spirit.

Love is the key. Joy is love singing. Peace is love resting. Long suffering is love enduring. Kindness is love’s touch. Goodness is love’s character. Faithfulness is love’s habit. Gentleness is love’s self-forgetting. Self-control is love holding the reins.

Rooted, grounded, and saturated in love. This is where our individual transformation takes place and how God uses us to transform whatever space he places us in. We have to be willing so the Holy Spirit can reveal to us what we need to see.

We are challenged to consider the environment when determining who are the least of these. What about me? Am I? Are we looking at folks and dropping them into a category. It’s not only those who are without financial and materials resources. There will always be people in the world who have need. What are their names? Have you heard their story? Have you shared your story? Sometimes we don’t see the people who are the beneficiaries of our ministry, but sometimes we do. We need to develop the relationship that will be the transformation. You are God’s vessel. When we feast on the word of God, when we become so close in relationship with Jesus that when he whispers we can hear the sound of his voice, when we are so surrendered to the Holy Spirit and allow him to grow the fruit within us, we can see the least of these, even when they don’t look like who we think the least of these are.

Rev. Dr. Allen Rice said, “Wherever you find the poor, there you will find Jesus also.” We are on a mutual journey. Who is the Holy Spirit revealing to you? When is it that we become the least of these?

As we continue to be transformed God will transform through us.

A video of Pastor Davis' session can be viewed at tinyurl.com/susumcAC2014

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