The Least of These

If you know the ministry of Operation Inasmuch, you know our mantra comes from Matthew 25:40. In that verse, Jesus says, “…Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” I have read a lot about that verse and the entire passage in Matthew 25 over the last 5 years. Some interpret the “least of these” to be fellow believers who are in “needy” situations while others interpret this phrase, “the least of these”, to mean anyone in our world that might be in need. No matter how you choose to think of that verse, the Bible is rich with examples of Jesus caring for the outcast, the oppressed, and the least of society. 

The outcasts are those vile humans that people do not really want to deal with. They make us uncomfortable or angry because they do not live the way we live. We are grossed out by them or maybe scared of them. Just think… who just came to your mind as I described an outcast person? 

So, who were the outcasts of Jesus’ day, and who are the outcasts in our world today? You can walk through scripture and see over and over again who these people might be and then see how God used them to change the world and fulfill prophecy. You can see how Jesus was drawn to them and how he poured into their lives. Let’s look at some of them:

  • Esther was an orphan
  • Mary Magdalene was a possessed woman
  • Joseph was a slave and sold by brothers
  • The Samaritan woman in John 4 was an adulterer
  • Rahab was a prostitute
  • Matthew was a tax collector
  • Saul (Paul) was a murderer

That is to name a few. Jesus constantly engaged with the blind, the demon-possessed, the infirm, and the looked down upon. In Luke 14, Jesus said, “When you give a dinner or supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors… But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” 

God loves to love those who society finds the easiest to hate and cast aside. Jesus was the ultimate example of serving others. He didn’t discriminate on who to love and who to serve. In Luke 10, a law expert challenges Jesus and asks, “Who are my neighbors.” He was just trying to justify who he was supposed to love. 

We all do it. We all have these internal categories of people that we find easy to love and those we are most challenged to love. Of course, Jesus goes on in that passage in Luke and gives us the infamous Good Samaritan parable. Jesus is constantly shocking the people and in this parable, he really was pushing the boundary. To make the lowly Samaritan the HERO… how dare he? And then in verse 37, he basically says to go and be like the Samaritan. 

So, what about today? Who are the least of these in 2024? Obviously, times have changed and the world has evolved but at the end of the day, the least of these still probably look very similar to the people in Jesus’ day. We still have orphans, the poor, the lame, people with special needs, people with mental health issues, people living in sin, people who are sick or terminal, and many others with severed relationships who are lonely and lost. 

We are called to love the people who seem unlovable, disagree with us, and live a different lifestyle than us. We are to show compassion for the hurting, the least, and the lost. It’s time to stop asking WHO and ask HOW. When we ask WHO, we are acting just like the law expert in Luke 10. We are trying to justify our actions and emotions. We start with the “what-ifs”. “What if he’s just going to buy drugs with the money I give him?” or “What if I’m running late?” Those are just two simple examples. The what-ifs go much deeper and play into our discomfort and our fears. 

Operation Inasmuch wants to help your church (and you) develop passions for missions and use the skills and abilities that God has given your church to impact the community right where you are. We want to help you with the HOW part. We want you to love your neighbors, especially the least of these.  We strive to help believers live out the gospel through daily acts of compassion simply by loving the unloved, serving the unserved, and reaching out to the unchurched. How are you doing with this? How is your church doing? There is a huge mission field right there waiting for you and it starts by looking outside the church walls. We would love the opportunity to train and equip your church. Please contact our office at (865) 951-2511 for more information about Operation Inasmuch

Written by:
Gene Whaley

Ministry Director

One response to “The Least of These”

  1. Kathy Hughes says:

    Wonderful piece – thank-you for it! In Essex, we are “in transition” as you know, changing leads. These gems help everyone keep on going!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay Connected!

Subscribe to our e-news and blogs.

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Operation Inasmuch. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact