Pass, Fail

If you aren’t into making the dean’s list you might prefer taking an exam that is graded on a pass or fail scale. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. Pass or fail serves to let us know if we are doing what we ought to do or not. I’ve recently had to write essays for my master’s program that were pass or fail. It reduces the pressure of worrying about the grade and allows you to worry about the paper. It’s not an excuse to just get by and if you do that it is a marker of your personality.

As Christians, we have a pass or fail opportunity in regards to pleasing Jesus. It is recorded in Matthew 25:35f, “‘For 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; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’  “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?  ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?  ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’  “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'”NASU

All across the area, there have been outstanding opportunities to fulfill parts of this pass-fail test. Church doors have opened to strangers fleeing the storm providing them a safe place to stay. Food and drink were provided. Some of those people are sick and they were helped with medical care. Small children were provided clothes and clothes were made available to all.

The thing is, these people were given more than shelter, food, and clothes. They were helped in more ways than medically. These people, who fled the storm found not only a dry bed and wholesome food, they found loving people who opened their hearts as well as their buildings. In truth, I believe that is the real thing Jesus is getting at in this passage. It’s not the physical care that’s important, but the loving care. It’s providing shelter and food with love. No obligation, no feeling of “have to.”

This is the way we should live every week, not just storm week. It’s why I love Westgate church of Christ in Dothan, Alabama. We do this on a regular basis. What’s more, we go into the jails and teach about Jesus. We bring those who are incarcerated into our fellowship and worship with them. We provide a halfway house for those who were in jail to transition to the free world.

I think Westgate gets a pass. Now the real question is not about Westgate but about me. Am I passing or failing this vital exam? How do I treat the stranger, the hungry, the naked, the sick, the imprisoned? How would you grade yourself?

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