John 1:26-28 WEB

John answered them, “I baptize in water, but among you stands one whom you don’t know. [27] He is the one who comes after me, who is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I’m not worthy to loosen.” [28] These things were done in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

If Jesus walked into your church would you recognize Him? We all miss numerous opportunities to encounter the Lord especially through the poor and needy. The Word says, “The King will answer them, ‘Most certainly I tell you because you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ (Mt 25:40 WEB)

My husband was needy for several years. He is a severe alcoholic and for 10 years he was in the habit of drinking daily. He was homeless due to his alcoholism. Worse, by the end, he was drinking a gallon and a half of vodka a day. He finally stopped after he nearly died. When my husband woke up in the hospital, he cried out to the Lord.

My husband drank to forget. He drank to numb the pain of severe childhood trauma. Because he was raped by family members through his childhood, he struggled with his bowels. So for about 3 years, you could find him running about filthy or passed out drunk. He frequently smelled like vomit and feces. He wasn’t very popular with the residents that had to deal with him in their neighborhood.

He wasn’t very popular with the churches either. In fact, one church caused him to lose everything he owned. My husband went to church seeking help to move from an apartment he had at the time. It was a Sunday and the ministers told him if he would attend church they would help him. So he stayed for the service. Then, after the service, they offered him a referral to another agency. He left hungry and angry. It was too late to get help from another church, so now He was out of options. He was hurt. He could not believe they told him to stay with the promise of help and then referred him to an agency that wasn’t even open.

He was Jesus to that church at that moment. And like so many, they missed their visitation.

Lord Jesus, help me see you in the people around me. Your Word teaches me to care for the poor. Lord, please help me love the poor and all people equally. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

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