Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Matthew 25...

Tonight we were discussing poverty, God's heart for the poor, His command to reach out to them, etc. Very interesting. One of the passages was taken from Matthew 25- about feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting those in prison etc. The second half of the passage has to do with those not helping the poor and Jesus' response to them in verse 45 "I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me." That is quite the statement and got me thinking.

I am here to serve the poor and more specifically the children in the Freetown area- a vulnerable group, often pushed to the side. And although i do my best to serve them everyday, I find myself wondering if I do enough. What is God thinking when I turn children away at the gate?

Take today for example. Wednesday, not a clinic day, but a day for immunizations and follow-up cases (of which we had 48 scheduled!). Still a busy day. However, sometimes patients show up for clinic. And often they are sent away because if we let one in this Wednesday, next week we'll have 10 patients trying to get in and before you know it we have a full blown clinic day and no time for follow-up.

So I did send one patient away today- one that I know. The father had called me 10 days ago on Sunday saying his daughter had a cough and fever. I told him to come on Monday or Tuesday. He didn't. He called again this past Sunday, I said again, you need to come on Monday or Tuesday. He didn't. He showed up today. Anyway, long story. But he was playing the system and I couldn't give in or he would do this over and over again.

At the same time however, there was another patient at the gate: a 2 year 4 month old boy who was severely malnourished. It was obvious that if he wasn't referred properly he wouldn't survive for much longer - probably for a few more days, but not much more than that. So after having just sent another patient away, I did let this child in.

So where is the justice in that? Sending one child away, and letting another child in? Showing mercy for one child, but not for the other? I felt bad. And what should I have done according to the passage in Matthew. Do I go ahead and let in every child? Where do my limits lie? At some point it seems like I have to say no.

Another example. Monday. Clinic Day. Many patients waiting. Nurse hands out 65 tickets to the first 65 kids. A full days work. But there are another 6 children waiting. I have compassion on them. After discussing with my colleague we decide to see them all. But, shortly after making that decision, I regretted it. I realized that by letting more patients in, it meant my staff would have to work even longer. We ended up seeing 74 patients and working till 8pm. Although I was happy not to send patients away, I felt bad making my staff work so late. And I don't think it's appropriate to do this all the time. But, where do the boundaries lie? What is expected of me according to the passage in Matthew 25?

And what about one of my favorite verses: Micah 6:8. Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk humbly. Every day. All the time. I can only pray that this becomes a part of my daily life. And do my best to serve.

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~ Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly. micah 6:8 ~