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  • Writer's picturetimothy martiny

Loving the Least of These

Several years ago, I was blessed to partner with a ministry here that serves special needs orphans. It is run by Jamie Waller, a New Yorker, and ex-Wall Street business and finance services executive.

Over the years, we have become good friends, and recently, he invited me to "Dia de Carnival," a popular festival enjoyed by young and old alike in Guatemala.

The highlight is dressing up in costumes and cracking "Cascarones," empty eggshells filled with confetti, on other people's heads.

Yes, I know what you're thinking, how ridiculous. I know because I felt the same way when I first came here, yet little by little, I got pulled into the fun of it with my kids and the children at the orphanages we serve. Sure enough, I look forward to smashing the eggs on someone's head every year.

This ministry works with profoundly physically, mentally, and neurologically disabled patients in a government home called ABI. During the day, about 30 students spend the day in classes at the outside facility we've equipped to be a daycare where, they receive love, care, and attention from privately hired Christian caretakers.

One of the ways we serve these children is by bringing mission teams and volunteers to visit and love the kids. A question I am frequently asked by visitors is, "What hope is there for improvement in the lives of these children? How likely are they to recover? And What's the goal of the ministry?"

It's a valid question whose answer is found in a simple verse, Matthew 25:40: "In as much as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

Can it really be as simple as that? A ministry without any more excellent physical, practical, or social end that exists merely to love Jesus through caring for the "least of these"? I think so.

Something amazing happens when you care for and spend time with these children. Yes, they enjoy it. Yes, they smile more, are calmer, and will even sometimes laugh at the silly games you play with them. But the amazing thing is not what happens in them; it's what happens in you.

As you love someone who can't love you back in the same way and who is limited in showing or demonstrating their love and appreciation, you get a greater sense of what our relationship with God must be like. The love that we give to Him pales in comparison with the love that He gives to us, the love of a father to send His only son to die for us, humanity, who, from the beginning, turned our backs on him. Broken souls who, even when we do love him and try to demonstrate it, cannot even come close to the powerful, all-encompassing, overwhelming love that is poured out over us in bountiful measure. Individuals who, when we grasp even a tiny fraction of His love for us, cannot help but be humbled by it.

When we love these disabled, crippled, blind children, are we loving Jesus? Yes, but on top of that, we are getting a glimpse of God's love for us, which is the true gift of the experience.

May we always remember Christ's words in John 3:18: "Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth."

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