We pondered judging – or rather, “judging not” – in class this morning.

Then we listened to a moving sermon about unknowingly meeting Jesus in the guise of the hungry and thirsty and naked and sick and the stranger and the imprisoned. The righteous are the ones who responded with kindness, even though they didn’t know that it had anything to do with their eternal reward.

These are the kind of Christians we want to be. The ones who understand that Jesus is out there among the least.

It’s the kind of Christian I want to be.

But honestly, it is so much harder in practice than I even think, even though it is so simple.

In the middle of this afternoon’s project of people getting together to help someone move stuff out of the shed and up to where they are living now – which it looks like we got done – the phone rang and I answered it instead of letting the answering machine get it.

This is how I ended up talking to someone who wanted gas money. It turned out that if we had it they would have to come from 30 miles away to get it.

Not only did I not judge not, I did not manage to keep the “how on earth does that make sense to you??” tone out of my voice. Or the “how long do you expect someone to wait around for you to get here??” tone, either. Or the “why aren’t you asking someone up there?” question.

[Because they will only give you gas money once a year, as it turns out.]

Someone will be here for a while longer.

I waited for the person in the church parking lot for about an hour, but she didn’t show up.

I finally said to myself, if they do show up, after all, they can still go to the church across the street. They still had cars in the parking lot. Because of course I hadn’t bothered to get her number. (“How on earth did that make sense to you??”)

But the waiting gave me time to think …

… that if you are desperate, it might make all kinds of sense to drive 30 miles for gas money.

… and that it was not a very nice tone to take with Jesus.


Flemish Baroque peasants doing summer work in a field with a church in the background
“Summer” – Pieter Brueghel the Younger