Today's devotion is a guest post from Kevin Martineau who is a pastor in Canada and writes at http://kevinmartineau.ca. Enjoy this entry that inspired me.
When considering how to “honour the overlooked,” we usually don’t need to look too far. AuthorMax Lucado muses about how lepers were treated in the Old Testament, but illustrates how we do much the same today. He says:
It seems harsh, doesn’t it? The banishing of a leper seems unnecessary. Of course, the ancient east isn’t the only culture to isolate their wounded. We may not build colonies or cover our mouths in their presence, but we build other walls and avert our eyes.
Some years ago David Robinson, who plays basketball in San Antonio, visited our church. He’s not a member of our church, but he shows up occasionally. You can imagine the stir that occurred, when that seven-foot, striking fellow walked in the auditorium. He came to the first service, and at the end of it, people mobbed him. The pandemonium finally settled down, and he went his way, and we began the second service.
As I stood to do the announcements, a homeless person walked in the back of the auditorium. He came down the centre aisle with his backpack, ratty jeans, and torn T-shirt. His face was unshaved, and he had a distinct odour. He walked down to the front and sat down.
The contrast struck me. When David Robinson entered, he was immediately swarmed. People wanted to touch him and be close to him. Nobody jumped up to sit next to the homeless man. After two or three awkward minutes, one of our elders got up from his seat and sat by the man and touched him.
I was struck. The message I received in my heart that morning was, “If you want to touch Jesus, whom do you touch?” Jesus said, “Whatever you’ve done for the least of these, my brethren, you’ve done also to me.” And so, if we want to touch Jesus we have a special use for our hands – to touch people no one else wants to touch. We can find special purpose by seeking out the forgotten and the ignored – people like this man. We can seek out the untouched and touch them.
The “lepers” of our world are all around us.
They are the homeless.
They are AIDS patients.
They are convicted felons in prison.
They are battered wives and neglected children.
They are teenagers without a father in the home.
They are the shut-ins.
2 practical ways to honour the overlooked this Christmas
1. Be a secret saint this Christmas.
Figure out someone in your neighbourhood or sphere of contacts that may be the most lonely this Christmas. Maybe it’s a widow or widower, someone who just lost a loved one or someone who can’t make it home for the holidays. Once you have decided on the person, make a Christmas care package for them. Have everyone in the family help.
Then sometime before Christmas secretly deposit the care package in a gift-wrapped box on the porch of the person (or family in question). Leave a note with the cookies that says, “God’s little secret agents want to wish you a Merry Christmas.”
2. Take time to serve those who often feel there is no place for them in society.
Volunteer to help at one of our community outreach agencies in town or even at the long-term care facility attached to the hospital. Don’t just make this a Christmas project; rather, let is be a beginning of your ministry to your neighbours who are often overlooked. There are many ways we can reach out to the overlooked of our society, we just need to open up our hearts.
What are some other practical ways to honour the overlooked this Christmas?