Matthew 25:40 - 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."
In this series, those working within health care were asked to consider the words of Matthew 25:40 and then answer: Who are the least of these? How do they impact your ministry?
If I gave away everything I owned, quit my job, and went to live in a beat-up apartment building on the wrong side of town, would I be poor?
By the sheer fact of my education and circle of friends, I could extract myself from poverty at any moment. Those who truly are poor do not have that luxury. No matter how hard I try, I can never fully understand what it means to be poor. How does someone who is affluent—and by that I do not just mean rich—identify with “the least of these”?
In my practice of medicine for the last 25 years at the Church Health Center, I have become progressively more tuned in to when I am in the presence of “the least of these.” They simply don’t have the options I have, but they have something to offer me nevertheless.
When that happens, my role is to do two things. First, by all means I am to use whatever God-given talent I have, and the resources God has given to the Church Health Center, to soften the pain and improve the life of the person before me. And I should do this as if I were caring for my own beloved mother.
Second, I am to seek out a way to learn what this person has to teach me about living. It may be how to survive on little money, depending only on God. It may be how to love those who have hurt me. It may be how to love God when the world seems to stand against me. The lessons are broad and deep. In those moments that I open myself to receiving as well as giving, I am certain I am communicating with someone who is special in the eyes of God.
Because of my life’s work, I encounter “the least of these” almost on a daily basis. Some days I perform my tasks better than others. Ultimately, God is the judge of how I relate to each person who comes to the Church Health Center. God separates the sheep from the goats. No matter how hard I beat my chest about what a good Christian I am, God is the one who knows the truth in my heart.
I pray that the ministry of the Church Health Center will pass the test when Jesus decides.
Scott Morris is a Family Practitioner and the Founder of the Church Health Center in Memphis, Tenn.