Luke 9:46-48 (CEV)
46 Jesus’ disciples were arguing about which one of them was the greatest. 47 Jesus knew what they were thinking, and he had a child stand there beside him. 48 Then he said to his disciples, “When you welcome even a child because of me, you welcome me. And when you welcome me, you welcome the one who sent me. Whichever one of you is the most humble is the greatest.”
Back in Jesus’ day women were worth far less than men, and kids – especially girls – were worth next to nothing in society’s eyes. This isn’t some schoolyard in a well-to-do North American subdivision in the 21st century, when kids are our prize and joy, where the earth revolves around our kids’ sleep, food, activities and Instagram accounts. Kids aren’t thought of with much of any value back in Jesus’ day, and those are the loved, welcomed ones with families and homes and all the rest.
But having seen videos and heard stories of gaggles of street kids – orphans – in countries like Kenya or India, I wonder whether Jesus picked a well-dressed boy of a local businessman, or whether maybe he chose an unkempt orphan beggar – maybe a young girl – who was sitting nearby in tattered rags?
I wonder if they looked less like this:
And more like this:
What does it mean to provide this kind of a welcome? What does it mean to welcome the last and the least in our world? How does that affect the way we respond to the child in CAS or to the mother who’s child has been placed in CAS care? How does that affect the way we respond to the refugee or the person who is terrified of refugees? How does it affect the effort we’re willing to put in to include the person with a disability or the person who’s life is a mess, or the person who calls at inconvenient times or the person who needs and needs and needs?
Welcoming a child is an often thankless task. Welcoming your child’s socially awkward friend – not a lot of thanks there. Making space in a group for an unlovely person – not a lot of thanks there. Welcoming a stranger’s need and pain into your life – no guarantee of thanks there.
But apparently this is how we welcome Jesus. Apparently this is how we welcome God. Apparently this is the point.
So who will you welcome today?Journal Questions:
- What “last” or “least” do you see every day?
- How do you welcome them?
- Would you be willing to share some of the ways that you have found to genuinely welcome others with us at Vox? We can keep your answers anonymous, but we’d love to share some of your ideas to encourage others!
- If you feel like you don’t do a lot of welcoming, or maybe don’t feel like you see a lot of “last” or “least” I encourage you to message us at the Vox office … we may be able to put you in touch with some folks who could benefit from being welcomed.