Our last chapel series focused on the parable of the sheep and goats from Matthew 25. As you remember from reading the parable, there was a lot of surprise among those separated into the sheep and goat categories. The bottom line for Jesus was, “Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me.”
As I shared my own continuing journey with our students in the College of Arts & Sciences chapel, I told them that my journey was significantly affected by the book Inasmuch: Christian Social Responsibility in the 20th Century written in the mid-1960’s by David Moberg. At the time Moberg was a professor of sociology at Bethel. Later he went on to a long and successful career at Marquette University. The book and the now archaic word “inasmuch” continue to challenge me.
When I think of “the least of these” in today’s world, my heart is drawn to categories of people who are not part of my world: children who have been sex trafficked, the very poor, HIV/AIDS orphans, and undocumented immigrant children. My time this year with Compassion International’s Wess Stafford challenged me to do more about children in extreme poverty. My time on the board of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) and conversations with President Leith Anderson challenged me to think more about the plight of undocumented workers, particularly their children. That is why I signed the evangelical statement of principles for immigration reform developed by NAE.
Who qualifies as “the least of these” in your world? Some of my colleagues at Bethel and many of our graduates put me to shame and prompt me to look more deeply it what it means to follow Jesus. I want to be among the sheep. What about you?