The Blessings of Missions

March 15, 2024

The king will say to those at his right hand, 

‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, 

inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world, 

 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, 

I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing,

I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 

Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and 

gave you food or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 

And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you or naked 

and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and 

visited you?’ And the king will answer them, 

‘Truly I tell you,

 just as you did it to one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, 

you did it to me.’

Matthew 25:34-40

 

If you were to take a drive on any given highway in Atlanta, you would probably come across a tent that has been pitched under an overpass. In some parts of the city you will find small tent villages with a cluster of tents in one place. Who are the people that inhabit these tents? The tent dwellers are our neighbors, here for us to love and care for.

In the United States there are over half a million people who are homeless.* That’s half a million people with no permanent place to rest, cook or even use the shower or toilet. Of this half a million, 8% are veterans, 50,000 are youth and over 200,000 are families with children. Here in Atlanta, there are 2,000 people that sleep on the streets at night. Homelessness does not discriminate against age, gender or race—it crosses all lines.

This year a portion of our spring mission offering helps to support the homeless ministry of which church member Matt Pogue is a part. On Wednesday night Matt and his colleague shared about the ministry and ways that we can support those who have no place to call home. Matt will give our missions moment in worship on Sunday as well. 

When we consider how to reach out to our neighbors and to share the love of Christ with them, we need to remember that some of those neighbors have no door to knock on. We need to remember that people’s needs vary. This means that the way that we support and love people is going to differ according to the person. One thing that does not vary, however, is the blessing that comes from that encounter. 

We are blessed through the act of providing for those in need, welcoming the stranger and caring for the sick. This is not a blessing of material goods or physical prosperity that we are rewarded with in payment for loving our neighbor in need. The blessing comes through our encounter. The blessing comes from watching and helping another become who they were created to be and at the same time, becoming who we were created to be through that act of love. And hopefully, the one we reach out to receives a blessing as well. 

Be blessed and be a blessing and remember…

You are loved, you are cherished, you are a child of God.

 

See you Sunday,

Pastor Caroline

 

*These statistics were obtained from atlantamission.org.