There once was a Christian college president with a Southern face. I say a Southern face because this was the kind of face you could only get from years of pan fried chicken, iron skillet corn bread, buttermilk biscuits. He was a very happy looking man…especially when he was around prospective students and wealthy alumnus. We will simply call him President.
The Board of Trustees loved President. He was a great fundraiser.
His wife was a dutiful woman who always cooked a full lunch, and he loved coming home to it. He loved her, too. Even though she was the plainest girl this side of the Mississippi, he was so excited to marry her. See, her daddy was the last college President, and was as rich as she was plain. And, she was so good to him, even after he started sleep walking at night. Story goes that sometimes she would get up at night and find him out in the living room shaking hands with imaginary donors. She’d have to show up and shake his hand and lead him back to bed.
More Hand Shaking
In the morning after his nightly hand shakings, he would head to the local Hardee’s. He loved their butter biscuits, and he would sit down there from 7:00-8:00AM. Turns out he not only loved the biscuits, but there were a few wealthy alums who would come in and have coffee with him. He would get to shake their hands. They would come in with their suits and pressed shirts, and he would smile so big you’d think his few remaining real teeth might fall right out on the plastic tray.
Mr. Humble’s Tragedy
It turns out there was another man who would come in there every day. He was an older gentleman who was always dirty, the kind of dirty that just doesn’t wash off. His name was Mr. Humble. His calloused hands were missing the ends of a few digits. President would quickly waddle along whenever Mr. Humble would walk by. They literally never spoke. Perhaps the saddest day of his life was when Mr. Humble died, and President found out that Mr. Humble was secretly the richest man in town. And, he was even more appalled that Mr. Humble didn’t leave the college one cent in his will. President didn’t know what to do about this. He got so worked up that he had a heart attack and died.
Like the President
I won’t deliver President’s epitaph, but I will ask you a question. Are you anything like him?
If you only perk up for your superiors at work,
If you are nicer to rich people than to poor,
If you are nicer to doctors than to nurses,
If you smile for the popular, but don’t even notice the loners,
If you make every effort to please the powerful, and don’t do anything for the weak,
If you would give up your seat for your boss but wouldn’t budge for someone that reports to you,
If you smile for the wealthy and won’t shake hands with the homeless,
If you’d do anything for the quarterback, but won’t move a finger for a bench warmer,
Then you might be a little like President.
What would Jesus say?
I wonder what Jesus would have to say to President. Well, on this earth, it would be hard for him to say anything, because when he saw Jesus, President would surely scuffle away. He certainly wouldn’t shake his hand. I mean, why shake the hand of a poor, manual laboring, no bank account Middle Eastern looking man. If anything President would have been scared of him. In fact, President did meet him, so to speak. Jesus was there in Hardee’s. In some way, he was there in disguise as Mr. Humble.
Matthew 25:40 says, “Then the King will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, anything you did for even the least of my people here, you also did for me.’”
More Than President
Now, here’s a question for you, how can you be more than President?
- Offer your seat to a poor person if they visit church
- Feed the hungry
- Clothe the needy
- Take care of widows
- Take care of orphans
- Visit people in prison
These are specific examples, but the heart of the matter is that you have to learn to see the face of the Master in the face of your brothers. John makes a huge point – if you can’t love people, how can you say you love God. And, loving people doesn’t mean shaking their hands in order to get something out of them. It means something else.
Here’s an alternative picture. The most powerful man who ever walked the planet was accused of being a friend of sinners. He was seen as the enemy of the religious elite. He was accused of being a friend to the outcast and loving to people like prostitutes and outsiders. And, he made a huge donation to his cause. It was a blood donation. He calls his followers to do the same thing. To reach out to the least, to befriend the sinners, and to share his good story, and to put some blood in the game.
President would sometimes be found sleep walking and asking for donations.
If you were a sleep walker, what would you be doing in your sleep?
Would you be singing a song of praise?
Would you be helping the hurting?
Would you be writing a story of redemption?
Would you be teaching someone to be a better person?
Would you be working for a better tomorrow?
You can do all of that, and now is the time to be more than President. Now is the time to befriend the humble king.