Jesus, thanks for coming to visit.
I was in my office reading Isaiah 42 during morning prayer, reflecting on the Messianic hope that you would be a light to the nations. I was contemplating how the Methodist bishops were right, calling us to see the mission of the church as making disciples of Jesus Christ "for the transformation of the world." Your Word is clear. You came to touch the blind, the prisoners, the poor, and those in darkness.
Vicki tapped on my door, and there you were, in the face of someone who needed gas and food. She apologized for interrupting me but I'm so glad she did. I helped you with some food from the pantry and took you to the gas station. I asked you to pass on the blessing to someone else and you thanked me. The timing was too perfect for me to ignore it. You visited me to see if I really believed what I was reading.
His name was Joseph but I know it was you. It as a mysterious visit from you when someone asks for help. In the parable of the sheep and the goats, you said "when you do it unto the least of these, you do it unto me." Not for you, not on behalf of you, but unto you. When I'm left asking "when did I see you," I remember those who drop by, looking to me with your eyes.
At the church, we follow protocols to keep abuse from happening. We participate in a cooperative program that offers financial counseling and coordinated assistance. It's important to be good stewards in a way that helps us touch those who truly have need. I send larger needs to the cooperative, but I usually help with a little food and gas.
As it turns out, this guy is suspected of stealing tools from a car the parking lot. I know that he probably did. I wish I had remembered to take down his information just in case there was a problem. I usually do.
The missing tools certainly test my resolve that it was you that dropped by. You are teaching me that aside from practical realities, there is a deeper matter of the heart. As far as my relationship with you, I hope that I saw him for whom he truly was deep inside. The parable teaches me that when I stand before you one day, you won't judge me for being too generous with someone who might abuse it and you won't critize me because I let somebody take advantage of me. You will make the claim that when I did for the least of these, I did it unto you.
Joseph is one of your children, the reflection of your glory. His looked at me with your eyes. Maybe he just doesn't know that you are within him. But I knew.
You came to visit my office the other day. I am blessed.