Monday, November 20, 2017

Pastor's Ponderings, November 20, 2017

Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You

A heart-breaking article in the May 31, 2016 issue of the New York Times by Rick Gladstone was entitled “Modern Slavery Estimated to Trap 45 Million People Worldwide.” The article reported that modern slavery has been defined as, “human trafficking, forced labor, bondage from indebtedness, forced or servile marriage or commercial sexual exploitation.”  The article goes on to indicate that a human rights group reported this figure “…was 28 percent more than its last estimate two years ago.”

Are we so concerned about our paycheck, our families, our personal sadness and pain that we forget about those victims and their victimizers?  As we vigorously shop for Christmas bargains, do we think about those who are forced into labor and suffer under the indebtedness bondage? Are we concerned about the migrant worker who is sexually abused or the 32-year-old woman working four jobs who died in her car from gas fumes? Do we care about the waiters and waitresses who rely on our tips and then tip them minimally or not at all because they forgot to refresh our water glass or brightly smile at our incessant demands?

The Bible says that the way we treat people we may consider “less than us” is actually how we are treating Jesus.  Treat the needy kindly and you are treating Jesus kindly, treat the needy badly and we are treating Jesus badly and God will reward you accordingly (Matthew 25:31-33, 41-46).  Let us think of Jesus whenever we deal with our brothers, sisters, and all of the strangers in the world. Let us do unto others as we would have them do unto us (Luke 6:31).

Matthew 25:31-33, 41-46
New International Version (NIV)
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.
32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,
43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Luke 6:31
New International Version (NIV)
31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

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