What if it’s you?

Good morning everyone,
Our theme for this month: “The end of anxiety and despair”
Our Bible verse for today: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “What if it’s you?”
I love the observation Brennan Manning shared in his book “The Ragamuffin Gospel” regarding Matthew 25:31-40. That passage is famous because in it, Jesus teaches a parable about caring for the down-and-out of society, the “least of these”. He speaks of feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, taking care of the sick, and visiting the prisoners, as examples of the ways in which His followers should be ministering to those who are suffering and in great need. Those are acts of kindness and compassion which flow from a heart of love, and He says that when we do such things for them, He receives it as if we have done those things directly for Him. That’s how important it is to Him that the neediest of all get cared for.
In reference to that teaching, Brennan Manning wrote this, “What if you discovered that the least of the brethren of Jesus, the one who needs your love the most, the one you can help the most by loving, the one to whom your love will be most meaningful – what if you discovered that this least of the brethren of Jesus … is you?”
Yes, what if it’s you? What if you are the one who needs your love the most? What if you are the one you most need to care for, minister to, and feel compassion for? What if you discovered that that one you need to forgive the most, the one who needs your acceptance the most … is you?
I’m not encouraging a narcissistic self-absorption with your own problems. We’ve already discussed the danger of that in previous devotionals in this series. However, as we’ve also already discussed, we’re often too hard on ourselves. We’re often our own worst enemy. The loudest voices of criticism and accusation sounding in our heads is often our own. What if the one you need to let up on and have some compassion for is you?
For many of us the problem isn’t that we love ourselves too much, but too little. I want to encourage you again this morning to give yourself a break. Cut yourself some slack. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
It’s not just the hungry, thirsty, sick, and prisoners who are near to the heart of Jesus. So are you. It’s not just them who His heart aches for. His heart aches for you too. Yes, take care of them. But take care of yourself too.
God bless,
Pastor Jim 
Copyright © 2022 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

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