Matthew 25:40 40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
Grandma, beloved Grandma, needs to drive far to take her Mother (Kok) to see the doctor. He knows he cannot go with her, and he knows it is a long trip. What does Grandma need? Snacks! Food for the body, love for the soul and prayers for the spirit.
What we do for the least of these...do we encourage little hands to messily bake? Imperfectly shape the breakfast corn cakes? Spill the flour a little bit (I'm so sorry Mama, it's all my fault." I reply with a hug, "It is okay, just a bit of flour."). Crack the eggs, watch me pick out the bits of shell. Mix with a serious face and unsteady not quite five year old coordination.
What we do for the least of these...let him make something chaotic and tasty? Or scold and keep the order of the kitchen.
My own Grandma would never understand, she was the wonderful homemaker, baker, cook, house keeper and hostess. She washed dishes always in separate water, dried with separate towels (some for glass, some for plates, some for cutlery, some for other dishes and always rags for the pots and pans).
My own Mom may not understand, she never really got into the scratch baking, the shoebox filling, food as a gift. She has always been busy, Dad always particular and set in his preferences.
My Grandma taught me how to bake, the love of the dough, the heart of the kitchen is the gift of the food. I have learned a different lesson though, much different.
Hearts don't beat in tidy neat spaces, they beat in the mess of life. Sometimes bloody, sometimes through tears, sometimes through slippery fingers covered in dough.
What we do for the least of these...let him pick the best ones for her trip? The ones made by his own hand, some smaller and over cooked others bigger and softer? Or make sure they are uniform and perfect from my own pans? That she will see the perfection of our baking, or that she will see the love? We chose the love!
What we do for the least of these...is to teach them to serve. To teach them that by giving in small ways they can deliver blessings beyond measure or expectation. We teach him that the gifts of his heart have value. Not in their perfection, but in their love in during creation.
God is the same. He does not want our perfection, He wants us to serve. He, who made the sparrow and painted the thistle bloom, wants our love and our hearts. Not our neatness and spiritless perfection. He wants the little fingers forming dough, pressing out all their love in corn cakes for a long drive. He wants dandelions tucked behind ears. He wants joy in rain, play in puddles.
What we do for the least of these...and by whose measure is "least"? Each hair of all our heas is counted, each of us is created by loving Holy Hands. Where is there a "least of us" in Creation? Only in our eyes, not in His.
When we do for the least of these...we do for us. We do for all of us. I am humbled by his gifts for his family, that he puts his heart into his prayers and his energy into living. For him there is no "least". Shouldn't that be the same for us?
Dear Lord, please let me see past the measures of this world. Let me get past neat and perfect into the messy, loving heart of life. Dear Lord, let me give with a spirit only concerned with the love and the gift, not the value or perfection. Dear Lord, I know you value us more than a sparrow, and that none fall out of Your care. Remind me, Lord, of their value in Your heart. Amen.