The Least of These

“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.” Matthew 25:40
His name was Talon. He came up to me before a Wednesday night service and asked for prayer. He was a rough looking character tattooed from head to toe. We found a quiet room and he said right up front, “I have full blown AIDS and am hitchhiking my way north where I can go to a friends place and die there. I am not here for sympathy or a handout, I just want prayer.”
“What’s your story, Talon?”
He said that he was born into a skinhead family and he showed me that he had the letters H-A-T-E tattooed across his belly. He was only good at two things in this world: drawing on bodies and fighting. He had contracted AIDS from a dirty needle and his family tried to kill him, so he ran. He ended up at the ocean (So. Oregon coast) where he had planned to swim out as far as possible and then drown himself. As he sat on the shore pondering his next move, a light shined in his darkness and gave him a glimpse of something going on that was bigger than his life. He went to a church, talked with a pastor, went to some AA meetings where he made a friend who loved the Lord. This friend led Talon to the Lord and discipled him for a while. As it became apparent that he was going to die he had found a place in Washington where he could stay to finish out his days.
Given his rough exterior and the cold, rainy weather outside I surmised that it would be a long journey to his destination and that he might easily die alongside the road, so I asked him the last time he had eaten and if he would allow us to buy him a bus ticket so he didn’t have to thumb his way there in the cold and rain. The next morning I drove him to Medford, gave him some meal money and a bus ticket to his destination, prayed over him and hugged him good-bye.

As I was making my way back to the church I was struck with the compassion I felt for this man. The old me would not have been able to hide my judgment of how he had spent his life. Talon had come as ‘the least of these’ but what made the test passable was the look in this man’s eyes that told me Jesus was in there.
Pastor Doug