050114, A Conversation About Jeremiah And “The Least Of These,” Jeremiah 18:1-6, Matthew 25:35-40
It was during a blog conversation that I had with Lisa (Falling Down The Rabbit Hole), that the subject of the prophet Jeremiah led to my comments that follow. (You might want to check out Lisa’s blog; it is very good.) Please consider the needs of people who are poor, and are barely getting by, or may be sleeping on park benches. Consider how you may be able to support Hospice locations with snack items for friends and family members of patients, who are spending their last days of life in those loving and compassionate facilities. Consider the “working poor.” Consider those who are residents of nursing homes, those who are hospitalized, or those who may be confined to a prison, jail, or detention center. Consider those who are grieving the death of a loved one, or of a close friend. Consider the words of our Lord Jesus, in Matthew 25:40. Consider how God may be leading you in the direction of a ministry, or in a change of ministry, like that which happened to me through Jeremiah 18:1-6. Consider the complete discourse of Jesus about the less fortunate, in Matthew 25:35-40. Consider Jesus, in the song that follows the writing of this post.
New King James Version (NKJV)
40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The Potter and the Clay
18 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Come, go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. 4 The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him.
5 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 6 Can I not do with you, O house of Israel, just as this potter has done? says the Lord. Just like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.
Equipping The Saints on April 30, 2014 at 8:50 pm said:
I was “on the road” working. I had been dabbling with ministry to “the least of these” (Mt 25:40), when I laid my Bible down on my motel room bed; it opened to Jeremiah 18. Then, I read the first six verses and asked God, “are you changing me?” The answer was yes! From the point in time forward, I began a dedicated ministry to homeless people, prostitutes, drug addicts, alcoholics, homosexuals, “the working poor,” and whomever else may have “slipped through the cracks” of society. God has blessed me beyond measure. I give Him all of the honor and glory. I thank you for allow me to write this short story of God’s leading of my life. Please check out the pages of my blog. May our Lord Jesus richly bless you.
Please read the Benevolence Missions Statement of Equipping The Saints Ministries. It can also be found on the “Page Section Of My Blog.”
“Equipping The Saints” Benevolence Missions Statement.
Matthew 25:40, “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
1. Purpose: Equipping The Saints Ministries (ETS) provides Spiritual and Benevolence Support Services to individuals and groups, in The United States Of America, and in International locations. ETS enlists support from other groups and individual to create an expeditious flow of support to the areas of need. Our purpose is to support churches and other designated and established ministries. ETS members will always be submissive to church leaders, or other ministry leaders, who may have established, assigned, or designated authority in areas where we have been asked to provide such support services. We will provide ministry outreach where no other church or designated ministries are present, and it appears to be prudent for ETS to assume command of the mission.
2. Vision. Ephesians 3:20 shares a view of ministry that has been revealed to ETS. That scripture tells us, “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us …”That vision includes things that we do, to include, but not be limited to, the following:
a. Ministering to prostitutes, homosexuals, alcoholics, drug addicts, and the homeless.
b. Becoming an advocate for anyone who may need our support, including those who are not homeless, but may be classified as the working-poor.
c. Assisting in the staffing of national and international ministries.
d. Using the forces of personal evangelism and Internet media to make thousands of believers around the world aware of the burdens that God has placed on our hearts.
e. Supporting U.S. military forces around the world, based on the type of request.
3. Overview. Matthew 25:40 has challenged us to step outside of our comfort zones, and to respond to the needs of people who seem to have been overlooked. In that scripture, our Lord says to us, “…inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”
a. When I stepped outside of the area of comfort, that had previously shielded me from a very dark side of life, I began to share the love of Jesus in a way that had never entered my mind. To take the hand of a prostitute and pray with her – to see her closing her eyes and joining me in praying to our Lord and Savior, Jesus of Nazareth – to see tears flowing from her eyes … these are all special moments of my life, and will never leave my mind. To walk under a bridge and see a homeless city; to see homeless people devising ways to protect their personal belongings, such as putting all that they own in a grocery store shopping cart; to see a makeshift bed, that extended from one steel girder to another, so that a man and his wife would be able to sleep five feet above the dirt; to see women selling their bodies so that they could sleep in a real bed, and have food to eat; to see homeless people walking the streets all day long, with no place to go; to see the vacant houses where those without homes would make their homes, for a night, for a week, or until a police officer would tell them that they would have to “find some other place to sleep” – which might be a park bench, a bridge, or another abandoned house; to know that many homeless people die each winter’s night, because they don’t have clothing that is warm enough to protect them from subfreezing temperatures – to know that the heat of summer takes the lives of those who can not escape its deadly temperatures.
b. When I have become an advocate for one of “the least of these;” when I have tried to “do what Jesus would do;” when I have tried to “be Jesus to the less-fortunate;” it has been very challenging and fatiguing, yet very rewarding.
c. As a ministry seeks to recruit volunteer ministers, it is very rewarding to be asked to assist in the recruiting and logistics effort of the growth of that ministry.
d. As I have been invited to explain the ministry of “Equipping The Saints,” to churches and church groups, it has been more of a blessing than I could ever have imagined.
e. The challenges of the United States armed forces are numerous. Many troops have no relationship with Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Military chaplains need the assistance of churches, individuals, and civic groups, in providing bibles and personal items to the troops. It is a blessing to be a part of that supply process.
f. Displaced persons ministry needs are overwhelming. ETS is attempting to respond to the needs of any people who are living outside of their designated homes. We attempt to support ministry and medical leaders, who oversee displaced persons dwelling places. There are many churches that need to be made aware of the needs of “the least of these.”
g. There are many churches that need to be challenged to seek out that demographic of society that seems to slip through the cracks of our minds. But, there is only so much that can be done by a few people. Other people, of similar sentiment, need to become affiliated with this ministry. That will allow more churches to embrace the message that scripture has so clearly been given to the Church, as it relates to the less fortunate. More sermons need to be preached about meeting the needs of the less fortunate. More hurting and lost souls need to be told about the love of Christ, and need to have more of their daily needs met by the Church. May God help this ministry to be all that it can be to share the message of Matthew 25:40, “in as much as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”
4. Ministry Objectives.
a. Matthew 28:18-20: Evangelism;
b. Matthew 25:35-40: Benevolence;
c. Ephesians 4:11-12: Equipping The Saints.
Turn Your Eyes On Jesus
Revised Standard Version (RSV)
35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? 38 And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? 39 And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’