The Least of These (revised)
By: Donna Haug
July 6, 2003
My family has been visiting with my parents in Northern Mozambique for over two weeks. I was not feeling very well on this particular day having just discovered I had malaria. Though I had a VERY mild case, I was sitting in the truck feeling a little bit sorry for myself while Dad ran into the fruit store. I did not feel up to walking around, so I sat there feeling very conspicuous. Locking all the doors, I glanced around at the men standing or sitting around the entrance to the store. Right beside the truck sat a few beggars hoping for some change as payment for “watching the bicycles” or just a handout. Suddenly, I took a second look at one of the men. He had a dirty baseball cap pulled low over his face. But as he looked around, I saw one of the most hideous faces I have ever seen! It was as if someone had hung weights on all the muscles of his face. His mouth hung wide open with teeth splaying out in every direction. His bottom eyelids hung down so low that his glassy, red eyes looked huge. As I tried not to stare, I was filled with a mixture of disgust and pity. Judging by the way he attempted to hide his face, he must be accustomed to much derision and rejection. Possibly for this man’s entire life he has never had anyone cup his face in their hands and say that he is loved and appreciated.
I wonder what Jesus would have done. I think that out of those beggars, Jesus would have gone specifically to that one. He would have reached out to physically touch him. He would have looked him in the eyes and showed him love and compassion. Even more, he may have seen fit to heal him instantly! I can only imagine!
But, what if I was to be the only “Jesus” that man would ever see? What would he have seen in MY eyes? The Bible says that, “Whatever you have done to the least of these my brothers, you have done to me.” (Mt. 25:40) Suddenly, the inconvenience of my minor bout with malaria seemed so insignificant! My heart cried out, "God give me the courage and the heart of compassion to demonstrate openly the love of Jesus, not just by giving handouts, but by sharing a smile, a kind word, showing respect and dignity to the unlovable."
Maybe you do not personally know someone who is horribly disfigured, but possibly you do know someone who is disfigured on the inside and just as unlovable. I challenge you to THIS WEEK reach out in compassion to the “least of these” in Jesus’ name!