The God who sees me
By Max Sahl | Wycliffe Today Christmas Edition 2023
The Bible is filled with examples of people who experience the pain of marginalisation. In Genesis 16, we meet Hagar. Forced to bear Abraham’s child, then face subsequent resentment and abuse from Sarah, Hagar was well acquainted with feeling small and insignificant. She may have been a poor slave woman yet an encounter with an angel of the Lord reminds her that she is not alone. She refers to the Lord as ‘El Roi’, meaning ‘the God who sees me’.
Many people in the world on the margins of society experience similar feelings of abandonment to Hagar. This is especially true for those suffering from abject poverty, illiteracy, war, homelessness, deafness, blindness or other health conditions. I recently had the opportunity to visit a Multilingual Education (MLE) project in the Democratic Republic of Congo that is being funded by Wycliffe Australia. In the north of the country are the Ngbaka people, most of whom are subsistence farmers, locked into a cycle of illiteracy and poverty because they do not speak French which is the language of education in the country. The MLE project aims to teach six and seven-year-old children how to read and write in the Ngbaka language before they begin formal schooling in French. The project has been extremely successful because these children are ready to learn literacy skills in French because they already have them in Ngbaka.
Jesus demonstrated the greatest depth of love and compassion for those in the margins of society. The stories in this special Christmas edition of Wycliffe Today show how God is reaching out to marginalised people like the Ngbaka through projects that provide dignity and support. When spiritual and physical needs are met, people feel cared for and seen. As it says in Matthew 25:40, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’. I hope you are encouraged as you read about lives being transformed, and reflect on the God who sees you and loves you.
Transformed by the Word: The least of these
By Lyn Wake | Wycliffe Today Christmas Edition 2023 |
‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ Matthew 25:40 (NLT).
Who are the ‘least of these’? According to this parable in Matthew 25, it includes people who are hungry and thirsty. The homeless strangers. The naked, sick and imprisoned. You get the idea. In this passage, Jesus revealed God’s heart for those who feel forgotten and insignificant. Jesus taught his followers the eternal consequences of how we relate to those who live in the margins of society. How we treat the least of these truly matters.
Wycliffe Australia members have a heart for reaching out to people all over the world who feel the pain of marginalisation. In partnership with Jesus and his family, we address the needs of overlooked people groups and languages. We seek to bring equal opportunities for every person to encounter Jesus through translated Scriptures.
Throughout the Bible, the least of these also includes widows, orphans, refugees, grieving parents, outcasts, those who are misunderstood because they look and feel different. The list goes on. We have all experienced moments of being ‘the least of these’ in one way or another!
Thankfully, the gospel proclaims Jesus as the righteous king who continues to deliver and transform every person who recognises their poverty of spirit without him. Jesus came for the least of these. He still comes for you and for me, with an all-inclusive invitation that meets us where we are. Thank God that exclusive margins do not exist within his glorious kingdom! The ‘least of these’ are never forgotten or insignificant but forever loved and important to him.
Be Transformed by the Word as you engage with Matthew 25.
Reflection: How can you join Jesus in blessing the ‘least of these’ in this season of your life?
Prayer: Father, thank you for meeting me in the areas of my life where I feel misunderstood and overlooked. May your Spirit lead me to places where I can bless those who feel forgotten and alone. In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.
Feature image by Heather Pubols