These past two days have been jam packed and filled to the brim. My roommate, Chelsea, had never visited New York before, so of course, we decided to take a trip at the beginning of Christmas break. My dad ‘s niece’s wedding and my brother’s college endeavors made it so that it was just me, Chelsea, and my mom; a girls’ trip to NYC. It was supposed to be magical and perfect, and while in many ways it was, it also broke my heart and opened my eyes in many new ways.

Walking the streets of New York City is heartbreaking; it is filled with people begging for money, homeless and in need of abundant love. With empty pockets and a packed schedule, I passed so very many people who needed someone to stop for them, and simply show them some love. Each time my eyes flashed across a needy soul, my heart ached for these broken hearts. So many people pass them by each day, just like me, as they cry out for help. Truly, aren’t these some of the people Jesus talked about when he referred to the least of these? Those society condemns as a result of their own failures and inabilities? But God calls them beloved. He loves each and every man and woman who begs, and is El Roi, the One who sees and hears their cries for help. He loves them deeply, and calls us to love the least of these.

The least of these extends to so very many people. It is those who society rejects and outcasts; those with severe disabilities, those who are homeless, those who have mental illnesses, those who have lost jobs or are stuck in addictions, those who are chained by sins or those whose need is more outward than others. I believe that this is beautiful because it is vulnerable, and in our deepest weakness is where God meets us and begins to heal us. The least of these are all around us, even you and me in so many ways and on so many days. Jesus Christ loved and died for the world (John 3:16), including each and every person. He loves the man holding a cardboard poster begging for help, the one who is anxious and filled with fear, the one who wants nothing to do with him and mocks him, and everything between and beyond that. He has given us everything, and that enables us to give generously.

I most definitely do not do this perfectly, or even claim to do this well. I passed so many helpless faces on the streets of New York, and in my daily life. But I encourage both you and I to stop and take the time to love somebody today. Share a smile or a laugh, ask someone to share their story with you and take the time to listen, or do something kind for another person without expecting anything in return. Spread the light of Jesus one step at a time. Giving generously comes in all different shapes and forms, whether in giving money to the man on the side of the street or sharing a meal with him and listening to what he has to say. Jesus was always hanging out with sinners because He loves and came to seek the lost (Luke 5:30-32). May we join Him in loving the lost back to the arms of our dear, sweet Father on and beyond the streets of New York.

· Matthew 25:31-46 ·

““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.’” ~ Matthew 25:40

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