Focus Passage: Matthew 25:31-46
If you love someone, you show up when they are in need. It doesn’t matter how busy you are or how difficult it will be, you will be there to help. My wife Joan knows what that is like. It was a first year of ministry in a new parish and her sister died in a car accident 400 miles away. We rushed to be with Joan’s family and support each other. Yet, when we got back only one person out of the 300 in our congregation came to the door or sent a card consoling Joan in her grief. They loved her, but just figured that a pastor’s wife didn’t need their help with grief. Jesus in the text talks of a host of opportunities for us to show up for one another. Love is about showing up for others and putting the faith you confess into action.
Love is showing up. One of the best examples that I can think of love is the three friends of Job. When Job loses his wealth and all his children, the three friends come and sit with him for a week with out saying a word. Job thinks that he has lost everything and here his friends show that he not lost one thing – their friendship. They will sit with him. They will cry with him. They will take on his pain. Loving friends show up.
Love is about listening No one said that you have to have all the answers. Nothing could be further from the truth. The book of James tells us to be slow to speak and quick to listen. We often have no idea what they are really feeling or what they really need. What they need is an ear to listen and to let them vent their frustration and their pain. God can speak volumes of love through our quiet.
Love is about praying. And when they are wearied by their own words or wearied by the emotions that have been spent, take time and pray. Few are offended – even non-Christians – if you pray for them from your heart and without any source of personal gain. Pray about the concerns that you heard with your heart as they spoke. And pray from your heart – not in big words, but in the emotions of one who has been touched by what you have heard.
Let it touch your heart. When Jesus went to the tomb of Lazarus, we find that the text says simply – Jesus wept. He wouldn’t have had to do that. He knew that the Father was going to raise Lazarus from the dead. If such pain can touch the heart of our Lord, it should touch our heart as well. You feel the pain of those who are hungry or thirsty. You feel the pain of those mourning or in grief. You feel the loneliness of the stranger. Showing up is showing up with your human emotions. Even Jesus cried and had his heart broken by the needs of others. They felt his heart and knew that he had fully shown up for them. It is the same today.