I recently won a gift bag with a watch in it that had a rather large price tag on it. That was nice. But I got a little excited when I discovered there was also a $100.00 gift certificate included. Until I read the fine print. The certificate was only good at a high-end jewelry shop. It didn’t take long for both me and the clerk in the shop to realize that I was not going to be using that gift certificate in that shop. The clerk made me feel as though I really wasn’t worthy of being there and by the time I left, I felt a little like I’d been trying to steal something.
Then I had a closer look at the watch. It had scratches on the buckle and a stain on the wrist band. I know they say you shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, and I really did try to be thankful, but I confess it left me with a bad taste in my mouth. It felt like they were saying I wasn’t worthy of receiving something of true value, so, here, take this second-hand, tainted, bobble and be happy. It wasn’t a nice feeling.
Think of my experience in terms of our attitude to those less fortunate. Do we make them feel as though they aren’t good enough? Do we respect them enough to give them something of value, something of true worth? Or do we give them watches with scratches on the buckle and stains on the wristband? Perhaps you’ve heard that old story about the missionary that received a care package from home that included used tea bags. How would you feel?
Our church just voted to sponsor a refugee family who had to flee Pakistan because of religious persecution. We’re not a big group. It’s going to take a few miracles to raise the money needed. It’s going to take giving till it hurts. I was quite nervous about it all until we managed to arrange a Skype call with the family. Suddenly my perspective changed. They are real people, lovely people, in a desperate situation. They are worthy of our help.
But then, isn’t everyone? Aren’t all made in the image of God? The Bible says they are – “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them…” (Genesis 1:27).
We hear a lot about refugees lately and there are many who don’t want to help, many who are afraid of the changes our country will undergo because of the influx of strangers. Perhaps we would be wise to remember what Jesus said: “I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me …Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me” (Matthew 25:43-45).
Jesus made no judgement calls on who was “worthy.” He associated with the least of the least and ministered to all. Should we not do the same?
If you would like to help “open the cage” for this refugee family contact me for more information at vinemarc AT telus DOT net.