THURSDAY, MARCH 14
Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.
Hebrews 13:2 ESV
CHURCH OR JAIL
Years ago, authorities gave non-violent offenders in southern Alabama a choice: Go to jail, or go to church every Sunday for a year. The city judge in Bay Minette let misdemeanor offenders choose to work off their sentences in jail and pay a fine; or go to church every Sunday for a year. If offenders selected church, they were allowed to pick the place of worship but had to check in weekly with the pastor and police. If the one-year church attendance program was completed, the offender’s case was dismissed. The hope was church was attendance would help change people’s lives forever.
To some people, going to church is like going to jail. But in Hebrews 13:2, the church is reminded to remember those who are in prison as if you were there with them. This was most likely referring to the believers like Paul that found themselves in prison simply because they were Christians.
When Jesus taught on heaven in Matthew 25:37-40 he said, “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to Me.’”
Jesus clearly taught that when we minister to those in prison, or hungry or homeless we are ministering to Him. Pastor Mike shared Sunday that “remembering those in need” means doing what I can to help. Who do you think of when you think about “the least of these” in our community? Ask Jesus how you can minister to Him by ministering to the least of these around you.