‘The Least of These’

The opportunities and open doors to reach out to those who are “least” are without limit.

Several years ago, while on a visit to my hometown in the Netherlands, my former principal told me how he remembered seeing my mother on more than one occasion walk across town to bring food and clothing to a poor family. Out of her own poverty she reached out to those who were “least.” 

Since then I have met many people like my mother. They work behind the scenes without wanting any credit. Just recently, I met five people who every week bring a warm meal to residents at a local motel. They knock on every door to invite them. Two couples from another church go to a downtown mission to serve a warm meal. They faithfully reach out to those who are “least.”

A recent Banner article told of a church (Feb. 2019) that hosts a weekly “community outreach program to help kids succeed in school and help mothers and fathers to become better parents.” Another church in the same classis has been transformed into a true community church by opening its doors every day to the down and out, offering a warm meal each week as well as a variety of programs in cooperation with a health care center. 

The opportunities and open doors to reach out to those who are “least” are without limit. But some of us prefer to look the other way. Some of us, like the priest and the Levite in the parable of the Good Samaritan, simply pass by on the other side. For seven years, while living in a town that has a beautiful ministry with the homeless, I never once bothered to become involved, nor did I ever ask the congregation I was serving to get involved. I visited once and never came back. Two years ago, while taking someone to a motel, I walked around to talk to some of the residents. One person said, “This place has a bad reputation because of drugs and prostitution. No one wants to come near us.” A sad commentary on a city with a church on almost every corner and thousands of confessing Christians, myself included.

Of course it’s never too late. We still have the opportunity to reach out to those who are “least.”  The needs are just as great as they have always been. We can still make a difference. Don’t look the other way or pass by on the other side. Go out of your way to find those who are “least” and challenge your church to do the same. And when you do, you’ll someday hear our Lord welcome us home with these words: “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

About the Author

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired pastor in the Christian Reformed Church.
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