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“I was in prison and you visited me”

February 17, 2022

Daily Scripture

Matthew 25:34-40

34 “Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who will receive good things from my Father. Inherit the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world began. 35 I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. 36 I was naked and you gave me clothes to wear. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.’

37 “Then those who are righteous will reply to him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? 38 When did we see you as a stranger and welcome you, or naked and give you clothes to wear? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

40 “Then the king will reply to them, ‘I assure you that when you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me.’

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Jesus’ word picture of the final judgment used his familiar way of telling a short “parable.” It clearly showed his Kingdom’s priorities. Kingdom people, he said, care for the hungry and thirsty, the poorly clothed and strangers, the prisoners and the sick. Jesus called those people “the least of these brothers and sisters of mine.” Jesus knew it’s usually easy to serve people doing well. He said we meet him in those who are poor, sick, hungry—and in prison.

  • Too many Christians ignore injustices like the one Pastor Burton suffered—as long as they don’t happen to them. Jesus rebuked very pious people in his day for carefully giving a tenth of even tiny herbs like mint “while neglecting justice and love for God” (Luke 11:42). In what ways each day, in regular or volunteer activities, could you work for greater justice? Are you willing to consistently make justice a priority? Click here to learn more about the “Miracle of Innocence” ministry Pastor Burton leads.
  • We sometimes say we should “see the face of Jesus” in people in need and help them. In Jesus’ story, the people welcomed in were surprised—they didn’t realize they were helping Jesus. Jesus said all people who need help are his “brothers and sisters.” He showed us that we’re one human family, so people imprisoned unjustly, or facing poverty and illness, are “us,” not “them.” How is God reshaping your attitude toward “the least of these” in your community and world?

Lord Jesus, how often have I met you, in need of justice, food or healing, and turned away without seeing you? Forgive me. Keep shifting my perspective to see and act with your compassion. Amen.

GPS Insights

Courtney Felzke

Courtney Felzke

Courtney Felzke currently serves as Funeral Director, supporting and helping families in times of loss and grief. She formerly served as Chaplain of the Silver Link ministry. In her free time, Courtney loves to go on long walks, read, and work in her vineyard! She also likes to spend time with her dogs, husband and two boys.

(Courtney wrote this blog post in 2016.)

Today’s Scripture verse reminded me how important it is for us to be present with those whom Matthew (and Jesus) spoke of as “the least of these.”

We may not know what to say or what to do as we seek to serve “the least of these,” but God will guide us if we are simply willing to show up and be present.

Four years ago, I felt God calling me to become a mentor for female inmates. Although nervous about this calling, I took the necessary training and soon found myself a mentor at the Topeka Correctional Facility for a young woman we’ll call Jane. The first time I met with Jane, I had no idea what I would say to her. I trusted that God would guide me. I did my best to teach Jane about budgeting and how to prepare for an interview. We worked on resume writing and talked about how to handle emotions. All of this was helpful, but I quickly learned that what Jane really needed was my love. Although she was only five years younger than me, she had never had anyone who consistently stood by her side. She valued the things I taught her, but what was most important to Jane was my consistent presence, my listening ear and my loving response.

I’ve also seen the importance of presence every week at the church. Many of our Silver Link volunteers do one-on-one visits with those in care facilities. Time and time again I’ve heard how God put them in the right place at the right time: how someone they were visiting was in pain but couldn’t call for a nurse, and the volunteer was able to get a nurse; how God guided their words and helped them to say a comforting prayer; how God called them to just sit and listen to the stories of those they are visiting.

God will be with us and guide us if we are simply willing to go.

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Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.