There are lots of commands Jesus gives his disciples and his church. Matthew 28v19-20 “Therefore go and make disciples…” My hunch is you can finish that one off. Or John 13v34 “A new command I give you…” You can probably finish this one too. But what about Jesus command in Matthew 18v10? Can you remember it? How about if I start you off; “See to it that you…” Got it? No.
Jesus is teaching his disciples about the new Kingdom culture for those who deny themselves, take up their cross and follow him. And he says this “See to it that you do not despise one of these little ones.” It’s the command we can’t complete, and if we can’t even finish it off how careful are we being to put it into practice?. But Jesus takes time to teach it to his disciples and he lays the foundation for his new community. He has a small child stand in their midst, a child who was viewed as a no-one, as vulnerable, unable to contribute, a drain on resources not a contributor to it and he says “See to it that you do not despise one of these little ones.”
Make sure if you are my disciple, claiming to follow me, that you do not look down on or scorn the little ones in your society. For them that’s the children, the Gentiles, the Samaritan, the widow, the orphan, the childless, the poor, the needy, the desperate and the destitute, the broken and the hurting. Studying to preach that last week I was freshly convicted of how easy it is for us, for me, to do that. How easy it is for us to swallow the lies our society pedals and look down on others for the work they do or don’t do, for the choices they make, for where they live, for the situations people find themselves in. How easy it is to believe the lie of social mobility or meritocracy and so scorn people.
This matters, “See to it” Jesus says to the disciples. Make sure you do not despise them because it will easily happen unless you are seeing to it that it doesn’t. So here’s the question; will we see to it? Will we examine our attitude to our societies poor and needy and vulnerable and broken? Will we allow Jesus light to break in and challenge us about the views we hold, the way we think and react to those in need?
What about as churches? How do we think about those in our society who are little ones? How does that thinking translate into action? It is all too easy to ignore the problem, to simply claim that we are open to all because the doors are open. But are we really? If someone Jesus has welcomes into his family as a disciples by his grace and mercy was to walk into your church next Sunday how welcome would they be if they were single, a lone parent, illiterate, homeless, destitute, had severe mental health issues, was a drug addict, or was a convicted criminal?
“See to it that you do not despise one of these little ones.” Quite simply if we won’t we’re choosing to disobey Jesus and that’s never a good place to be?