Reading Time: 7 Minutes
I thought I would begin my blog article with a good news story. Chris Weeks, Dominick Totta, Scott Stoner and their friends spent a good portion of Friday afternoon cleaning the area of a homeless camp near I-435 and Independence Avenue.
Some people on Facebook asked if they were removing property of the homeless people who make that place their home. Scott assured them that they only removed the trash – two trailer loads full. As you may know, Scott and Dawn Stoner are to of our areas’ biggest advocates for the homeless.
The pictures and videos on Facebook greatly encouraged me for several reasons. One big reason is that I know that the life of Jesus is active in these people and they show it by their behavior.
When Chris sent out the appeal for help, he used a favorite slogan of ours. He said, “Don’t talk about it; be about it.”
A Don’t Talk About It Parable
The parable of the Sheep and Goats in Matthew 25 is without a doubt a “Don’t talk about it; be about it” parable.
The first part of the parable begins like this, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory.
“All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.
“Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;
“‘For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink?
“‘And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing?
“‘And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’
“And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me'” (Matthew 25.31-40).
Stories of the Kingdom
When I saw the videos and pictures of the clean-up, I wrote on Facebook, “You are making Jesus smile.”
I am profoundly blessed to be part of Maywood Baptist and to know Dominick is pastor at Fairmount Christian. These people are showing the new life that a relationship with Jesus gives through very practical and beneficial actions.
They are not alone. One of my friends ends all of his email messages with Jesus’ words, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these you did it to me.”
He is another person who doesn’t merely “talk about it.” He and his wife definitely put their time and talents into serving others out of a love for Jesus and people.
Maywood people know many prisoners and ex-offenders. I rejoice to know that they frequently write, make phone calls and provide financial help to those who are still incarcerated.
They don’t just say, “I ought to write my friend in prison,” they actually do it. Once again, this is more evidence of an active relationship with Jesus.
Before corona virus hit, Ray Martin, Ricky Shepard, Sherman Kampe, Shane Kampe and several others from Maywood served food every Thursday night for years with Ricky Beach’s ministry on Independence Avenue.
Rudy Ross provided the food for this ministry for more years than I can remember. Rudy makes my favorite chili of all time. Ricky Beach’s friends receive restaurant quality chili every Thursday during the winter and hamburgers in summer.
The theme of “Don’t just talk about it; be about it” is put into practice by these persons and more. Where would our community be if they weren’t serving so faithfully?
When God called his people, he didn’t form a study group or a passive crowd to sit and listen to lessons about his greatness. God called his people to action.
A passage from Isaiah illuminates God’s desire for practical action from his people.
God’s people in Isaiah’s day enjoyed “talking about” God. The prophet wrote:
“Yet day after day they seek me
and delight to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that practiced righteousness
and did not forsake the ordinance of their God;
they ask of me righteous judgments,
they delight to draw near to God.” (Isaiah 58.2)
They wondered why God’s blessing was absent from them and said,
“Why do we fast, but you do not see?
Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?” (Isaiah 58.3)
God answered them with a challenge similar to the one Chris Weeks put on Facebook. “Don’t talk about it; be about it.” God said through Isaiah,
“Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
and not to hide yourself from your own kin?” (Isaiah 58.6-7)
God has been on a rescue mission ever since the first rebellion in the Garden of Eden. The beauty of God’s work in our lives is that rescued people in turn become his agents of rescue.
If you are concerned for western Independence or America, God has a promise for people who live out their faith in practical service. He promises us:
“Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up quickly;
your vindicator shall go before you,
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.” (Isaiah 58.8-9).
The message of the parable in Matthew 25 and God’s word through Isaiah is a simple one: “Don’t talk about it; be about it.”
About This Blog
Klyne Snodgrass has devoted 12 years of study to produce the book, Stories With Intent. His book is recognized as the best book on the parables in print. I am indebted to Dr. Snodrass’ work that helps shape my articles.
If you have a prayer request, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. I will pray for you and so will the prayer team at Maywood Baptist Church.