In the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol, the story begins with the self-indulgent Ebenezer Scrooge, so preoccupied with his own desires, he neglects the desperate needs of others, like his employee’s sickly son, Tiny Tim. The book says, he would “edge his way along the crowded paths of life, warning all human sympathy to keep its distance…” We may not be the infamous miser Scrooge was, but can we also become so consumed with life that we miss a Tiny Tim walk by?
In Matthew 25:31-46, painting the picture of Judgment Day, Jesus reminds us how important it is to be attentive to the needs of others. As King upon the throne, Jesus says he will gather all the nations before him and, like a shepherd, place the sheep on his right and the goats on the left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’” (v. 34-36) Of course, these sheep, the righteous, say they don’t remember feeding or clothing the King, Jesus Christ. “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” (v. 40) Everyday, we have chances to feed, clothe, or visit Jesus, but do they pass us by?
Before his change, Ebenezer Scrooge, with a mind set on his own welfare, must have missed countless opportunities to bless others and Jesus. If the daily, seemingly meaningless encounters with people at work, home, or at the store are actually opportunities to bless Jesus himself, maybe we should look at those encounters quite differently. Proverbs 28:27 warns us about turning a blind eye to those in need, stating, “Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse.”
Most kings surround themselves with the wealthy elite, but Jesus, the King of Kings, is different. He identifies with the poor Tiny Tims of this world. “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.” (Proverbs 19:17) May we adopt the heart of Jesus and search our lives for a Tiny Tim we can bless.