Do Acts of Social Justice Count if They’re Compensated? Or am I just a goat?

Matthew 25:40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.

   I was hungry and you fed me, 
   I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, 
   I was homeless and you gave me a room, 
   I was shivering and you gave me clothes, 
   I was sick and you stopped to visit, 
   I was in prison and you came to me.'”

So I’ve been talking a big game about seeking God in the eyes of “the least of these.” More and more, I’m convinced that believers must vacate their circles of folding chairs to find Christ, not in a book or by exercising our well toned self-scrutiny muscles, but in the eyes of those for whom Jesus had a heart while he walked the planet. The poor in spirit, the poor in pocket, the widow, the orphan, the hungry, the cold, the sick, the imprisoned. And so like any good action-oriented American, I’ve decided to hunt for an appropriate outlet in my community — food pantries, missions for international adoptions, mentorships to teen mothers — since ain’t no alleys here in the most affluent county in America in which to find God. 

And then a job dropped in my lap. Out of the blue. Helping the blind. Now, Jesus seemed particularly compassionate toward the blind. They didn’t make the Matthew 25 list, no, but I’m thinking they count as overlooked.

My friend Bubba pointed out that it’s (my church) “Grace’s social justice orientation with legs.” But does it count as sheep status if I get paid to help the visually impaired find work? And what does it say about my heart that I’m crestfallen that the job isn’t what I asked for? See, I’ve been looking for steady writing work and recently made the short list for a high-paying position with a prestigious advertising firm. I’ve been seeking a glamorous job while looking for an extracurricular least-of-these application to satisfy my requirement to find and serve Jesus.

So my question is this. Do acts of social justice count if the doer receives a paycheck for those acts? 

 41-43“Then he will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because— 

   I was hungry and you gave me no meal, 
   I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 
   I was homeless and you gave me no bed, 
   I was shivering and you gave me no clothes, 
   Sick and in prison, and you never visited.’

 44“Then those ‘goats’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn’t help?’

 45“He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.'”

Am I a goat? Am I a sheep? Will I see Jesus in the eyes of the blind? Because I really want to see Jesus. That’s what drives me to do anything good.

Published by Beth Bates

Writer, writing coach, book editor, CNF instructor, connector, mom, wife, and lover of fresh air, grass, trees, birds, waves, sand, mountains, stories, and travel Let's be friends on Twitter @bethbates

5 thoughts on “Do Acts of Social Justice Count if They’re Compensated? Or am I just a goat?

  1. And it takes a God-free friend to point out that maybe I’m missing the point if I do justice to see Jesus (benefit myself). Motives, schmotives. This is what happens – we’re trained to over-think and over-analyze, and Christ probably just wanted us to DO.

  2. You have to live in the world (gotta pay the bills) but not be of the world. Great place to be spending your time and make a living!

  3. You are the furthest thing from a goat, girlfriend. Your heart is beautiful and true and your love for Jesus is pure….there’s always something ugly in all of us that we have to work on….I am thrilled for you and praying for awesome things for you….God puts us right where He wants us right when He wants us there….even in every minute. Love you, sista!

  4. Ok and I promise this is my last post but I didn’t mean you necessarily have something ugly to work on….I just meant quit beating yourself up because there’s always something human-natured about everything we do and God is always working on removing those things from our hearts so don’t feel guilty about anything you feel just leave your heart soft and open to God, which you do anyway…..sorry to hog your board…XOXOXO

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