The Story: I went on a mission trip to the inner city streets of Toronto, Canada in College. I met a man named Basil. Basil was homeless, hungry, cold and not very trusting of our kindness. We were there for 6 days in Toronto and I ended up seeing Basil almost every night in the same location. Every night we would engage deeper in conversation, but he would never really let me in. Every night I always had a sandwich and had a willing ear to listen to Basil's interesting stories.
The Lord Spoke: The last night of our trip was extremely cold. So I had two long sleeve shirts to stay warm and a brand new Sweatshirt. I saw how cold Basil was and felt as if I heard a voice from the Lord say "Give Basil your new sweatshirt." I hesitated because it was new, but I could not ignore the the nudge. So I took off my sweatshirt and gave it to Basil. I said "The Lord wants me to give you my sweatshirt." He didn't want to take it from me, because he was worried I would be cold, but he put the sweatshirt on and it fit perfectly.
That gift changed the relationship: At that moment Basil asked me to sit beside him and he let me into his home (sitting on his sleep bag), and he began to tell me more of his story.
The Truth: It was more than a sandwich, more than a friendly conversation, the consistency of being there each night and the value of the sweatshirt showed him that I truly cared about his life. This interaction has never left my mind. You see it truly comes down to a relationship.
MAIN PASSAGE: Matthew 25:35-40
35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ 37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,[c] you were doing it to me!’
OTHER SCRIPTURES: I Corinthians 14:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:14
I Corinthians 14:1 NJB
Make love your aim.
1 Thessalonians 5:14 (NIV)
And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.