I believe that God still speaks to us through dreams. I see the story of Joseph in the old testament and Joseph in the new and see the consistency of this means. Furthermore in Acts 2 it’s recalled as part of a prophecy that people would ‘dream dreams‘. The tension here being that clearly not every dream is a message from God, otherwise I’d be able to fly by now! And therefore discernment – the process by which we hold things up to the standard of God’s word and the Holy Spirit inside of us and even the wisdom of the Church (probably other things as well – but this isn’t the place!) – is key to evaluating whether our dreams are from God!
Anyway, recently I had a dream which I think was from God! In it I was taking a young lad home. Probably having him for a meal or something. He looked about 17, was bald and short, his face was slightly disfigured. At some point in the dream I worked out that his name was Jesus and he was in fact Jesus. And I said to him ‘Why is it that I’d prefer to be reading my Bible and writing in my journal than entertaining you right now?’ and what I meant was ‘why does it feel more spiritual to be doing those things than having you round for dinner?’.
In Matthew 25 and in other places, Jesus tells us that when we care for the least of these, the hungry, poor, outcasts, etc we are actually caring for Him! But so often, in fact most of the time, I devote myself to finding Him in the spiritual activities (reading Bible, journal writing, church services etc) , rather than in serving these people. In fact Jesus even identifies himself in the members of the Church.
As with most things there is a tension. Here the tension lies in acknowledging how good it is to read our Bibles, pray and go to church, in fact its Biblical! (Ps 1, Phil 4, Heb 10.25)… But, are we in the practice of looking forJesus in the least of these? Or only in the isolated practice of personal quiet time devotions. As for me, this is something I definitely need to work on!
Phillip Yancey uses a beautiful phrase to describe this ‘Jesus in disguise’!
One more note, when we say the least of these, we are not implying that some people are of less worth intrinsically. But rather, there are people who our society and social circles will value less than others. Usually the basis of our valuation is found in appearances, personality, ability/giftedness (especially within the church), wealth etc. So people who do not meet these standards who don’t “look great” or seem to have a “dull” personality etc are the least of these in our individual contexts. (But it does differ!)
Father I pray that you would help me to seek you in those people who the world considers least!