Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hidden Treasure - BROKEN SHELLS

“I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40

Millions on millions of tiny grains of sand make up the beach. Scattered in the seascape pieces of broken shells lay unnoticed. If I change my focus and pay closer attention I can feel them under my feet as I walk. Their presence doesn’t concern me much. I just notice them to be part of the background. I don’t find they hurt my feet necessarily. On occasion, I might feel them crunch or snap under the weight of my body. Never-the-less, I just go about my stroll. I place my focus on grand things like the crashing waves or gentle breeze. I watch the eager birds scavenge for food. Certainly, I don’t concern myself with the broken shells I walk on.

Jesus was concerned with the broken shells. In fact, broken shells were His primary focus and, so should ours. We in general don’t notice the lonely grocery clerk or the tired single mom filling her gas tank next to us. We walk on them as we go about our comfortable lives. And, possibly even cause one or two of them to snap under the weight of our lack of concern. The next time we venture out on the beach or go about our preoccupied day, stop and take notice of the broken shells. Collect those shells. Bring them in to your home. Make it a point to notice their beauty. They too were created by God. But, beneath their cloak of sorrow and piercing of suffering lay a tender soul curled up and tucked away. Hope is the needed medicine they won’t afford themselves at the drugstore. Despair soothes their open wounds.  

The cause of a person’s brokenness is irrelevant. They need to be loved and reassured. They deserve our mercy and compassion. We must see beyond the walls of our clean, comfortable lives and invite the messiness in. Wash their feet with love. Quench their thirst with hope. Nourish their hungry belly with grace. Clothe them with kindness. Treat their sickness with compassion.

Jesus said, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” More bible classes, annual retreats or quarterly social events will not feed the hungry, comfort the widow or bind up the broken shells.

When you recall walks on the beach from days past did you take note of the broken shells? Have you pushed aside the broken shells as you collect the beautiful unblemished ones?


The full context of this passage in Matthew chapter 25 suggests significance far beyond our simple disregard for broken shells. Read the subsequent verses:
“Depart from me (Jesus), you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.”
“They (The disciples) also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
“He (Jesus) will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did NOT do for one of the least of these, you did NOT do for me.”
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

What first steps can we ALL take today to redirect our focus off the more grand things and move our heart toward the broken shells?