Matthew 25: 40-46 is what we did. Not familiar with it ? I am no scripture master either, I had to look it up too, don’t feel bad.
Matthew 25:40-46 (American Standard Version)
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me.
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels:
42 for I was hungry, and ye did not give me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink;
43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in; naked, and ye clothed me not; sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44 Then shall they also answer, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not unto one of these least, ye did it not unto me.
46 And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life.
What was my family and I doing that I could not take time out to sit and write a column?
There was a family whose one child was friends with one of my children and they were struck with dire need and we took in one of their children for 10 days.
We fed him, clothed him, gave him shelter, loved him as our own and made sure he felt like he was part of our family. This child had never had brand new clothing and needed other clothing, I spent hours on the phone looking for help. This child had nothing. His entire wardrobe fit in a school backpack.
After 3 days, I got lucky and found an organization that was able to help me outfit this child for the coming winter months. They did not want him to have used clothing, they wanted to give him the gift of new clothing, something he had never had before. These Angels, for lack of a better word, had me take the child to Target and pick out up to $200 worth of new clothing. The first thing my young ward picked out was a winter coat, because all he’d ever had for many winters was a zip up sweatshirt to keep out the rain, snow, wind and cold. I felt so blessed and then guilty after hearing this, it was hard to speak for a while. As we shopped this sweet child told me that living at my house made him feel like he was part of real family. He told me of his time living in a car for about 2 years, then in a tent for another 3 years. The whole family lived in a car and then in a tent, through all the seasons. Hot and cold.
I learned a lot about humility in those 10 days. He asked for help with homework from both my husband and me and got A’s on tests for the first time ever. Praying before meals was something new to him and he told us later he thought it cool and would try it at home.
What did we do when it was time to take him back home with all these new things ? We lied. I told his parents we went through our boxed up things as we are preparing to moved and happened on the tote that had all these things our children can no longer wear or had quickly outgrown. We had a week to get the tags off and get that brand new look gone by washing and wearing. Yes, I will go to confession for this white lie, because it was worth it, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. This child was old enough to know that his father would not accept charity and we told him to say nothing, so he is not lying. We were the ones telling the untruth. In all truth, it did come from our home and it was given to him. The boy was fine with that. So, it wasn’t really lying…It was stretching the truth – a lot.
I have a new outlook on people and children that I see on the sidewalks now. You know the ones I mean. Children and teens without a warm coat on, rubbing their arms as they walk or wait for the bus. Or clothes that are all torn up. I’ve learned that more than likely, its not a fashion statement, its all they have or worse, they have nothing to keep them warm and dry.
I learned to not be so quick to judge upon appearances. Boy, have I learned that one !
I ask you now, as winter is coming on, search your heart and soul. Are you helping those less fortunate than you? Many public utilities have programs in which you can donate to so that those that have less can have help toward their bill and keep the heat and lights on. Chicken Noodle soup on sale? Throw in an extra can or two and donate to a food pantry. Many of these children cannot wait until Christmas to have warm hands from the ‘Giving Trees’ that most churches put up.
If you have seen families that are in need, do more than shake your head and feel sorry for them and pray that their lives will turn around. Be a secret giver. If you see their children are without warm clothing or proper shoes, be sneaky, guess the proper size if your child doesn’t play with those in need, then get what’s needed and do a night time drop off. Hats, gloves and mittens are pretty easy to figure out…same for coats. If you have plenty, share your wealth and do what we are told do to in Matthew 25:40-46.
For me and my family, this is the very first time we have fulfilled ALL of the Lord’s requests in caring for others. We fed him, we clothed him, gave him shelter, loved him as if he were our own and listened as well. We answered questions about our Faith, God, and angels. For all we know, we entertained an angel unawares.