I certainly didn’t want to go back to that prison! (read here) And I knew if I went home there was not even a chance I’d be brave enough to venture back in two hours.
There was a Whataburger restaurant about a mile away. I decided I’d go there for the moment so Jesus would have time to talk me into returning to visit my friend. I pulled up, parked the car and grabbed my Bible. Still fuming I was thinking, “Yep, Jesus, you have some major convincing to do here!”
I walked in and ordered a Diet Coke. As I waited I was feeling so nauseated – I just wanted to go home. Have you ever been so stressed out about the unknown that it paralyzes you? That would explain my no-good-horrible-day up to that point!
I grabbed my drink and cozied in to a booth. Opening my Bible I sighed, “Here we go, Jesus! I’m looking for some guidance here.”
Jesus was probably sick and frustrated with my bad attitude. I opened my Bible and the pages fell open to Matthew 25. I began to read. Before I knew it my breath was taken away . . .
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my
Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation
of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty
and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I
needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in
prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord,
when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to
drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and
clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King
will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of
these brothers of mine, you did for me.’” (verses 34-40)
In the pit of my soul I could see Him looking at me and saying “Excuse me dear, you need to read on!” I was beginning to feel a little better thinking it wouldn’t be so bad if I just took myself on home. I could easily and justifiably say, “Been there, done that, it just didn’t work out for me.”
But I read on . . .
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed,
into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry
and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,
I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not
clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’”
This was certainly beginning to sound pretty serious here. My heart began throbbing . . .
“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a
stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will
reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of
these, you did not do for me.’ Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but
the righteous to eternal life.” (verses 41-46)
This was definitely serious business now! I’m sobbing right there in Whataburger – I’m sure I was a fright for all those walking by. Whoa – – Whatever I DID NOT DO, I DID NOT DO for Jesus!
Sobbing a little louder and asking God to forgive me I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt I was going back to that prison, but strangely now I was getting excited about the adventure. This time I wasn’t going just to see a friend; I was going to see my Friend, Jesus! My mind pondered over that thought for quite awhile. I began to see things differently and in the light of . . . whatever I do not do, it is as if I’m not doing it for Jesus.
The trip back to the prison that day was still a little scary. I was thankful when I arrived and the gruff guard was no longer there, but an understanding one who walked me through the whole process was. Visiting with my friend in prison that day I knew something was changing . . .
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’