Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Least of these

This week at Moms’ Connection (our church’s homespun and free version of MOPS) our session was about how we should see ourselves as God sees us. I was tasked to try to come up with a game that might emphasize some of these truths. It struck me that we women are often critical of ourselves and others, and don't see the precious daughter of God that He created, sees and loves. I was reminded of a Bible Study last spring over Matthew 25:31-46, the parable of the sheep and goats.

In this parable, Jesus explains that He will eternally separate those who served others and those who didn't.

35For 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, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' 37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' 40"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.'

At the time, I had been a little disturbed by this. It was sort of a conundrum (was I doing things I wouldn’t know I was doing?). I was trying to figure out how this fit with my understanding of grace. Ephesians 2:8-10 says, 8”For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” I was concerned that I wasn’t doing enough, was comparing myself to others, etc. I knew that this wasn’t grace focused thinking—when acts are out of fear versus thankfulness. Grace is the influence of God in our hearts and its reflection in our lives (not out of duty, but out of love and gratitude).

So, as I was pondering all of these things, I felt God reassure me that he sees the little things done by his children (and is working through us even when we aren’t aware of it). I was reminded of words in the book, "The Shack," that God is especially fond of each of us. I was also reminded of how everything is turned around in the kingdom of God—the weak become strong, the poor in spirit are blessed and theirs is the kingdom of heaven, the poor become rich. When we do things to the least of these, we do them to Him. Success in the world is not equivalent with success by God’s standards. I felt his love as he reminded me of ways I and others have been his hands and feet.

This was such a reassurance to me of God’s love, of his way of calming my fears from the Bible Study last spring, and I wanted to share it with the women in Moms Connection to hopefully give them a glimpse of God’s pleasure in them, too, and the beauty in the other women in the room who have also given of themselves.

I had been planning to do a Human Bingo game, but as I was thinking about all of these things, new ideas came into my mind which created this game piece. The game was lively. I really had no idea if a whole page BINGO would be possible—but, yes, several women were able to get signatures on every spot from our group of less than 30 women. It was a special reminder of how God is working through all of us in various ways. Here's the list of the bingo blanks (can't figure out how to get an excel spreadsheet to correctly copy over here).

Has Donated blood
Gave to a beggar
Gave to a bell ringer
Kissed a child's boo boo
has taken a meal to someone
has adopted a child
visited someone sick
visited someone in prison
contributed to Helping Hand Ministries (our church's ministry for those in need)
served at a homeless shelter
gone on a mission trip
wrote a friend an encouraging note
prayed for someone who came to mind
volunteered
taught children
made an Operation Christmas child shoebox
gave an Angel Tree gift
donated clothing
visited someone in a nursing home
given someone a needed hug
gave a drink to someone thirsty
invited a stranger in
supports a missionary or ministry
helped with Special Olympics
cared for a sick relative

2 comments:

Kristen said...

Sonya, I love this idea for the bingo game. I especially like how you prefaced it with an understanding of grace, that we care for the "least" out of our understanding that we are indeed also the "least" and have been cared for. I also quoted that passage in a blog recently!

Becoming Me said...

What a beautiful post and I loved your Bingo list...oh, I cannot subscribe to your blog...anyway you could add RSS feed or the followers button...I'm terrible about checking bookmarks.