Throughout the next few weeks we will periodically post Bible passages and attempt to apply them in Light of what we see along our journey.
Today I want to talk about a passage that is commonly brought up in Social Justice circles, Matthew 25:31-46. This is the passage where Jesus talks about the final judgment and separating the sheep from the goats. As we prepared for this trip, I used Matthew 25 quite often to explain why Steve and I wanted to do this project so I thought it would be a good place to start.
At first sight it seems like the works based mentality that God uses to judge his people in this passage is at odds with the grace based gospel we are more frequently taught. What is the point of Jesus´ sacrifice if we are judged by what we do in the end anyway?
I think the truth in this passage has little to do with proclaiming a works based salvation and much more to do with diligence and seeking God wherever he is manifest. The two parables prior to this passage deal directly with diligence while waiting for something to come (parables of the ten virgins and workers given money by their master). As a follow up, verses 31-46 seem to work as a ´how to´ for what this diligence should look like. “As you did to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me”
The other night I had the privilege of sitting in on a book study of the “Irresistible Revolution” with a college class studying in Tegucigalpa. As the conversation progressed, some of the students lamented how hard it is to hear God’s voice in terms of finding your calling. I remembered thinking this many times myself. How can people feel called by a God you cannot see, hear, touch, taste, or smell? As the question was presented this passage popped into my head. Are we really dealing with a God so aloof that we can’t begin to approach him? Or is he already so close that we would go cross-eyed before we really saw him? Maybe the reason we often do not hear God’s call in our life is because we are waiting to hear from the God of the universe and we forget he is also the God of our tangible, everyday lives.
I think when Steve and I started forming the ideas for this project, it was because we started to see God’s call in Matthew 25 played out before us in a blatantly obvious way. Not once did I have a ´feeling´ about what God was saying to me specifically. In fact there were many times while planning this trip that I wondered if this was God’s will or our will sending us to Central America. But every time these questions came up, I could not bear the thought of not doing something in light of what we learned about immigration last spring. In the end, we had to do something and understanding the journey of migrants firsthand seemed like a good place to start. So here we go as fallen but faithful servants to a God too close to see.