Scripture Reading: Romans 14:1-12
We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written,
‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall give praise to God.’
So then, each of us will be accountable to God. –Romans 7-12
Standing before Christ at the final moment of our lives to receive our judgment is too late. I think it is important that we examine ourselves daily to discern where we are missing the mark in our relationship with God. Such a review allows us the opportunity to make a course correction. We cannot do that unless we apply Christ’s external measuring stick. Amos talks about it as a plumbline. (See Amos 7:8)
Jesus is quoted in Matthew 25 outlining the criteria by which he will judge us. Most are not high priorities in many of our lives. Feeding the hungry and clothing the naked perhaps draw more attention. Should not a part of the emphasis on feeding the hungry and clothing the naked include creating the world where hunger and lack of clothing no longer exists?
Matthew 25 also calls for us to care for the sick. Again we do that as we visit our church members in hospitals and nursing homes, take them food when needed, or provide transportation to services. Is not a part of caring for the sick assuring the adequacy of available, affordable health care for all?
The USA ranks low in providing restorative services to prisoners and Oklahoma ranks among the lowest of states in providing even the most basic care while having a high incarceration rate. Is not the intent of visiting prisoners to restore them to wholeness?
Jesus draws on an ancient practice in the Hebrew community when he instructs us to welcome the stranger. When we turn away the best and brightest of the strangers in our Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) how are we treating others? Jesus said to welcome the stranger with no strings attached.
I invite you to join with me in daily self-examination of our response to this short list that constitutes a part of the followers of Christ plumbline so that responding to these issues becomes our normal way of being.
Prayer: Lord, guide us in our self-examination so that we can see clearly how our own behavior impacts others. Show us how to love like you. Amen.
All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.