The Upper Room Devotion for Thursday, November 16, 2023, was written by Mariela del Carmen Mustielier Fonseca of Cuba.
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’
Matthew 25:31-40 NRSV
For several years, I've led a prayer group for mothers in my home. We meet in the morning, Monday through Friday. One day, a friend asked me to accompany her to an early-morning medical appointment. I truly wanted to go with her, but at the same time there were other considerations: the great distance to the hospital by public transportation and the relatively slow walking pace because of her need for a walker. Would there be enough time to get her to the appointment and still make it back in time for my prayer group meeting?
My desire to assit her proved far more important than any inconvenience. I asked the Lord to favor us with two gifts - wise planning and good transportation. We left quite early, our ride was on time, and she made it through her appointment successfully. Then I accompanied her home and arrived on time for the start of the prayer group. That day, I was grateful that with God's help I was able to perform two works of love that pleased the Lord.
Pastor Anthony's Thoughts
The Covid-19 pandemic challenged many of us, as we adjusted to sheltering in place and a radical shift to how we lived. Yet, among the many obstacles, there were signs of grace and encouragement. Seniors who had various physical challenges found their neighbors to be compassionate assistants to help provide necessities. Acts of kindness make an indelible impact on the lives of those who receive them. Christ calls us to act with compassion, love, and mercy so that the light of God may shine bright. Mariela's reflection reminds us of the importance our presence can have on those around us. May we all endeavor to act with kindness and grace today.
God in heaven, create in us a willing spirit and a compassionate heart to serve our neighbors with love - the same love with which you care for us. In the name of Jesus. Amen.