Matthew 25: 34-40 has always been a special passage to the staff at Youth For Christ in Kansas City. The second part of vs. 36 says, “I was in prison, and you visited me.” Followed by the question, “When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?” and finally the answer, “I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it for me.” As we work with youth in local detention facilities, this verse grounds us in the fact that as we serve them, we are also serving God.
As we engage with more youth outside of the Juvenile Detention Center, other parts of this passage have come alive. The Message states Mathew 25:24-26 like this:
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter those of you who are blessed by my Father! Take what is coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:
I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’”
This spring we received a phone call from Trina, a friend of a teen mom involved in Parent Life. Trina was pregnant and without stable housing. As we learned more of her story, it was heartbreaking to see the lack of support systems in her life. We leaned into our relationships with collaborative community partners to see how we could get Trina in a stable environment for her pregnancy.
Within a week we were able to help her move out of a stranger’s house and into a home for pregnant and parenting young moms. She has been able to find employment, save a bit of money, and get the prenatal care she needs. None of this was as easy as it should have been, and we felt as through we faced resistance every step of the way.
This passage in Matthew 25 calls us to be family to people we don’t know. It is about providing for basic, immediate needs, without the need to have all of our questions answered. This process taught us a lot about government systems, local community agencies and the struggle in navigating the path to help. But, in the midst of all of that, our compassion muscles were stretched. In building a relationship with this teen mom, we were able to learn more about laying out lives down, about serving God.