Often I hear of people quoting this verse.

Matthew 25:40

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

The context used is clearly referring to children as the least of these.  However,  many times I think we don’t get it right here.  We think  as westerners, that the least of these means ……..those that HAVE the least.  The least STUFF.  The least amount of food.  The least clothing.   We think that having MORE is better.  We tend to elevate ourselves in a position that somehow thinking we are MORE than them. We have MORE stuff so we must be better, better off, and can come to the third world and give our STUFF to them.  Most of this giving is out of abundance.  Our leftovers.  What we don’t need, no longer have, or never ever wear anymore.  Because, if we have more we must be better, right?  WE couldn’t be the least of these could we?

Let me convince you that these children we are serving are the MOST of these.

Why would I say that?  Let me give you a few reasons why.

1. YOU WOULD BE CONSIDERED THE MOST OF THESE IF YOU COULD LIVE OUT OF A BOX. That’s right.  Meet my friend Salfine from Ibanda.

She was sponsored in May of 2011.   This trip #14 she got a bed.

We asked her to show us her box.  She obliged and we learned about her stuff.  A few shirts, two skirts, some petroleum jelly,a towel, and then something very valuable.  Salfine had a letter from her sponsor taped on the upper part of her box. You could tell it meant the world to her.  A short note of encouragement sent this summer along with a pink beanie baby. That’s it.

Nothing else in the box.  Some of your friends would be sharing a box.  That means you would have 1/2 a box to hold everything you have in life.  Others of your friends  wouldn’t even have a box,  you would have just a plastic bag to dig through when you were missing something.

Can you imagine?  Living out of a box?  That’s all you could have.  Rather remarkable I would say.   To live your life with such joy having just a FEW THINGS. That would make me think you are THE MOST of these. I couldn’t do it now and I am not sure I ever could.  I can’t even visit Uganda  for a couple weeks without 3 fifty pound bags of stuff or return with fewer than 1 bag filled with dirty clothes.  I have way too much stuff.  Thank you Salfine for doing what I probably never will be able to do  in my life.  YOU ARE THE MOST OF THESE.

2. YOU WOULD BE CONSIDERED THE MOST OF THESE IF YOU COULD EAT THE SAME THING DAY AFTER DAY AFTER DAY. We have several schools now and most of them started with no feeding program.  Children are left with the option of bringing food from their mud hut homes, or going home during the lunch break ……if they have a home to go to. Once we are able to start feeding programs (Mbarara, Rwemikoma, Ibanda) what is offered is some porridge in the morning, often served together in a bowl or a cup like these two children from Ibanda we saw this week. Lunch would consist of a corn meal/ potato mix with beans as seen in this picture at Mbarara from our kitchen.

That is it. No option, day after day after day.  I just couldn’t do it.  In fact, it is a challenge to eat the same thing for me for two meals in a row.  Wow,  you would be THE MOST of these in my opinion for your ability to do this.  It makes so much sense why you treasure any variety to your diet.  A simple apple.

I understand now why you would eat this treat down to just a few seeds or a sliver of a peel.

Oh, it is such joy to sit with you as you enjoy a simple snack.  The sounds you make are some of the most precious joyful sounds I have ever seen.  These snacks come very infrequently but when they do, you lift them high to the Lord and give thanks.   You are THE MOST OF THESE for your ability to handle your provision this way.  I could never do this the way you do.    Thank you for teaching me to be more content about eating the same thing more often. THANK YOU FOR BEING THE MOST OF THESE.

3.  YOU WOULD BE CONSIDERED THE MOST OF THESE IF YOU WERE SO THANKFUL TO GOD FOR SOME OF THE MOST SIMPLE THINGS IN LIFE. How often do I give thanks to the Lord for an education for myself and my children?  Not enough.  I take this gift for granted.  You don’t. You thank the Lord for a desk which you share with 2 or sometimes three students.

You are thankful for water.

I just turn on the tap and expect cleanliness.  You praise God  for a simple bubble.

I need sophisticated entertainment systems, televisions, or a smart phone working properly to be happy.  You don’t .  You take pleasure in knowing there will be grass on the new land at Katyazo and literally hold it up and praise God for it.

I just pay the yard guy to cut it and get upset when cinch bugs eat some of it every year. Thank you for teaching me it is an incredible privilege just to have one Bible.  I won’t admit how many I have, but thank you for your example.

I bet I would read it more often if I just had one like you.   You have less but you thank Him more.  THANK YOU FOR BEING THE MOST OF THESE.

4.  YOU WOULD BE CONSIDERED THE MOST OF THESE IF YOU PRAISE YOUR FATHER LIKE AN ORPHAN. Have I ever lifted my hands as high as you have?  In fact one of your favorite songs to sing is Higher and Higher.

Have I ever broken a sweat worshipping you Lord?

Maybe only when the air conditioner has broken.  Thank you for teaching me through the worship of an orphan.   Do I ever  worship you with my eyes closed like you do with no concern of how I look to others?

You do.  I don’t.  Thank you Lord for allowing an orphan child to teach me how to worship you.  THANK YOU LORD FOR SHOWING ME THEY ARE THE MOST OF THESE.

I shall never remain the same,

Epa