From the Inside Out!

By Rev. J. Loren Russell

Matthew 25:37-40 NKJV ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’” ‭‭‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

In the scripture text, Jesus is continuing a conversation He began in chapter 24, teaching His disciples the need to be prepared. When He gets to the latter part of the chapter, His disciples are trying to make sense of what Jesus meant when He said the Son of Man will separate the righteous from the wicked, the righteous on the right side and the wicked on the left. To both He will say, ‘I was hungry, and I was thirsty, a stranger, naked, and a prisoner’.

To those on His left, the wicked, He would say, “you gave me no food, you gave me no water, a stranger and you did not take me in, naked and you gave me no clothes, in prison and you didn’t visit me.” But to those on His right, the righteous, He said, ‘you gave me food, you gave me drink, you took me in, gave me clothes, and visited me in prison.’

As it was in the ancient world, so it is in our post-modern world. Those who beg for bread, seek water, are homeless, naked, or imprisoned are, as the Bible declares, the least of these. In other words, the most needy among us. They represent everyone who is in need without the ability to help themselves. They can also be those who are simply different than we are by color, social status, age, culture, language, or even looks, anything that makes them different from us and gives us a reason to look down on them.

To quote from CTI Chaplaincy Training Institute Certificate of Basic Training book, “Chaplains usually minister to a group of people of many different religious beliefs or no religious beliefs at all. They usually represent many different cultural identities, including those of education, profession, and political persuasion.” Chaplains, whether they serve institutions or the community at large, are noted for their concern for humanity regardless of any of the aforementioned. They feel that they have a calling to serve, and that calling exhibits itself from the inside out.

Chaplains specifically are categorized as righteous. It doesn’t matter whether the recipient of their benevolence is the ‘least of these’ or just different based on some preconceived notion, chaplains are called to serve. Chaplains must transcend stereotypical labels to share and show the love they have on the inside with those on the outside.

Paul wrote a letter to the church in Rome where he emphatically stated that his readers needed to be “transformed by the renewing of [their] mind, that [they] may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2). Chaplains are not doing their work so that their minds will be transformed, their minds are already transformed which is why they do the work. No denominational limitations. No ecclesiastical apartheid. Just love from the inside out. There are many people in our communities with a chaplain’s spirit. They share love from the depth of their heart without the benefit of a title or an assignment. They give because it’s on the inside and they can’t wait to get it to the outside.

The fact that you are reading this article is an indication that you want to get the best out of you. Whatever your motivation is for reading, you would not have read this far had you not an inkling that something you would read was going to stir up the best in you. Whatever your faith persuasion, educational level, race, creed, or color, I believe the spirit of the chaplain can be stirred in you so much that you will, right here and right now, begin to show on the outside what’s going on inside.

Be Blessed!

Rev. J. Loren Russell is an associate minister at Goodwill Baptist Church and is the spiritual leader of both LaGree Baptist Church and the Evangelical Church of God, all in the Bronx, President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial & Strategic Consulting (718-328-8096), and is the creator and host of “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Monday nights from 8:00 – 10:00 PM on Facebook Live. Be sure to ‘Friend’ the Matters of Faith YouTube Channel. Email us at Order your copy of Matters of Faith: The eBook at

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