(Jesus said) "And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'" Matthew 25:40
Nine-year-old Brent was in second grade when most children his age were fourth-graders.
Brent was big for his years, a clumsy fellow, and learning was always a struggle, but Brent was also a kindly soul, a gentle boy, a child who would always defend the underdog. Wishing to give their boy self-confidence, his parents encouraged him to audition for the Sunday school Christmas service.
Brent wanted to be a shepherd, but he was given the role of the innkeeper.
The teacher in charge of casting figured Brent's size would lend believability to the role when he had to refuse a room to Mary, Joseph and the soon-to-born Jesus. Brent's parents helped with his lines, and Brent learned to be firm as he told Joseph, "There was no room in the inn."
The night of the service, no one was more caught up in the story than Brent. That's why, when Joseph knocked on the painted cardboard door of the makeshift inn, Brent was ready. He flung the door open and asked menacingly, "What do you want?"
"We seek lodging," Joseph replied.
"Seek it elsewhere," Brent said in a firm and deep voice. "There's no room in the inn."
"Please, good innkeeper," Joseph pleaded, "This is my wife, Mary. She is with child and is very tired. She needs a place to rest."
There was a long pause as Brent looked down at Mary. The teacher in charge of the service was prepared and whispered Brent's line: "No! Be gone!" Brent remained silent. In the best of acting tradition, the couple playing Mary and Joseph turned and began to slowly move into the darkness.
Seeing this, Brent called out, "Don't go! You can have my room."
Most people, when they hear that story, smile and are glad to see the kindness and compassion of this most special young man. They approve of what he did. But I wonder how many of us are ready to emulate Brent? How many would say and do what Brent did for the pretend parents of the Christ Child?
Each day we all receive requests for donations from needy causes. Some of them are good causes and some just look good. It is impossible for us to respond to all of them. Our purses and pockets are not deep enough to meet all of these needs.
But that doesn't mean we should ignore all of those needs.
We who have been blessed by the Savior's sacrifice need to remember that He entered this world to help the spiritual beggars of this world: us. We were helpless sinners: people who had no chance of escaping the terrible punishment that awaited us. But Jesus came and gave Himself to pay the price for our forgiveness and salvation.
Now we unworthies, who have been blessed by His largesse, ought to do our best to help others. It's our way of saying "thanks" and honoring the Savior who gave so much for us.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, in appreciation for the Savior's gift to me, I ask my heart be opened to those who are unfortunate. Although I may not be able to help everyone, let me reach out to someone. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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