The following story appeared on Facebook last week. I was deeply touched when I read it, and shared it, as did some of my friends. By the end of the day, the story had disappeared. Links to the original were broken. I consulted my good friend Google, and saw a lot of controversy over whether or not the story was true. Apparently, someone had discovered that the photograph attached to the story supposedly depicting Pastor Jeremiah Steepek was in fact a picture of a homeless man in London that was posted at flickr.com.
People seemed upset that there might not have actually been a pastor named Jeremiah Steepek and that the whole story was made up. Ironic, since the story discussed Christian principles in action, and Jesus most commonly taught his followers through parables (or made up stories that weren't true in order to illustrate Truth).
I am re-posting the parable of Pastor Jeremiah Steepek, because I think it's worth reading and taking to heart. I hope it will touch your heart as it did mine.
"Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."
Pastor Jeremiah Steepek transformed himself into a homeless person and went to the 10,000 member church that he was to be introduced as the head pastor at that morning. He walked around his soon to be church for 30 minutes while it was filling with people for service... only 3 people out of the 7-10,000 people said hello to him. He asked people for change to buy food... NO ONE in the church gave him change. He went into the sanctuary to sit down in the front of the church and was asked by the ushers if he would please sit in the back. He greeted people to be greeted back with stares and dirty looks, with people looking down on him and judging him.
As he sat in the back of the church, he listened to the church announcements and such. When all that was done, the elders went up and were excited to introduce the new pastor of the church to the congregation... "We would like to introduce to you Pastor Jeremiah Steepek"... the congregation looked around clapping with joy and anticipation... The homeless man sitting in the back stood up... and started walking down the aisle... the clapping stopped with ALL eyes on him... he walked up to the altar and took the microphone from the elders (who were in on this) and paused for a moment... then he recited:
The the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance the kind prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?
the King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'
After he recited this, he looked towards the congregation and told them all what he had experienced that morning... many began to cry... he then said... Today I see a gathering of people... not a church of Jesus Christ. The world has enough people, but not enough disciples... when will YOU decide to become disciples? He then dismissed service until next week...
Being a Christian is more than something you claim. It's something you live by and share with others.
This is the parable of Jeremiah Steepek. You can think it's a nice story, you can be outraged that it isn't true, or you can take the Truth from the story and apply it to your own life. I hope you'll do that, and share the story with others.
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