Matthew 25:31-46We talked about what it means to serve Christ through serving others, and how a heart obedient to Him will follow His leading. Mayda pondered that for a bit and she said, "I want to bake some bread."
31-33 “When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left.
34-36 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:
I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’
37-40 “Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’
41-43 “Then he will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because—
I was hungry and you gave me no meal,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
I was homeless and you gave me no bed,
I was shivering and you gave me no clothes,
Sick and in prison, and you never visited.’
44 “Then those ‘goats’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn't help?’
45 “He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.’
46 “Then those ‘goats’ will be herded to their eternal doom, but the ‘sheep’ to their eternal reward.”
There is a woman who comes to the farmer's market and buys bread. After buying some of the bread we sold there, she called and asked if she could order bread regularly. So every so often I deliver the bread to her home and we chat. The last time I delivered bread before Christmas, we brought cookies. Her husband had fallen and broken his hip and was not doing well. I felt a nudging from the Spirit to do more, but I felt the bag of cookies was enough. I had invited her to church. But she was on my mind. Mayda didn't know that. Other than joining me in praying for the woman and her husband, she didn't know the struggle in my heart. What did He want me to do?
But here a few weeks after Christmas: Mayda read God's Word, her heart was pricked, and she knew just what she wanted to do.
Me: "Bake bread?"
Mayda: "Do you remember that lady who buys your bread? I want to bake bread for her. I know she's sad that her husband is sick. And I want to help!"
I told her we could bake later that night, and I was swept up in the day with everything on my plate I'd almost forgotten. But Mayda didn't. After supper she helped me clean up, and she reminded me that we needed to bake bread. We even tried a new bread recipe, but also made the loaves the woman liked so well. And as we packed up to go to town, she got more excited.
When we knocked on her door, the woman's grandson answered. I apologized for not calling ahead, and he welcomed us in. Mayda was suddenly shy. It turned out the woman had just brought her husband home from the nursing home with the care of hospice. There he was... sleeping soundly in the living room, struggling with the pain of the un-healing hip.
Mayda and I went on through to the kitchen where the woman was sitting, and she was completely taken by surprise. I told her how Mayda had wanted to bake her bread. She turned to her grandson and then back to me, and gesturing to the crust of bread on the counter, said:
"I just told him this morning that I was going to need to order more bread!"
We exclaimed together that God had heard, and placed an order with Mayda, who was beaming now (but hiding behind me out of shyness). She wanted to pay her, but Mayda told her it was a gift. I couldn't have been more proud of my girl.
And in my heart I was humbled. How many times have I had the thought to minister to someone: to drop someone a note, or to give a quick call? Did I do it?
In a recent conversation with a friend, we were talking about how we live in such blessing while the world outside our door is struggling so. How can we snuggle in our warm homes, when there are tin huts with dirt floors? And as I hung up with her I struggled in my heart, "Am I doing all I am called to do?" And I came to this conclusion... before I discovered this post by Ann V. about Radical Christianity; where she says the words that are the very thoughts I've been chewing on in my mind for two weeks:
"Because only a life contemplating the love of Christ becomes a life acting the love of Christ.
Because all radical Christianity is first rooted in relationship Christianity — with Christ and His children. Right where we are.
And love always moves. Always rippling outward, onward, forever homeward.
There’s love in a loaf of bread." -Ann Voskamp
I am teaching my daughter to bake bread. I am making disciples right where God has called me. What can my two hands do that wouldn't be better with the help of the eight small hands I am teaching?
I have been given a mission field, and it is here. And I have so far to go, in teaching them... and I will begin with the lesson of listening. Listening to that still small voice that prompts us to love, and to be the love of Christ. In our home. In our community. In our world.
Even if that lesson came from a child, a good humbling, and a a few loaves of bread.