This movie is aimed at many audiences. I say this because there was a clear battle between religiosity vs. faith, racists vs. those who see no distinction in color and those who get involved and those who watch others be involved. There are many angles to this story but it is no doubt God-centered and Holy Spirit driven.
Clearly the takeway was the importance of surrendering to God - to not just knowing His Word, but living it, hiding it in one's heart to use when one must go on the offensive against evil. This movie was also a reminder to true believers in Christ to constantly look for others (the underdogs) to help along the way.
Richard Kelly (Cedric Sanders) got a scholarship to Wesbury Theological College in or around 1965 (this is based on a true story) by writing an essay - and by being a "Negro." Without spoiling the story I will leave out some details which are later presented which form the true foundation of the reason Richard avoids prison.
Oh the blessed brother in Christ that comes alongside Richard! Samuel J. Bennett(Louis Gossett Jr.) befriends Richard and welcomes him into his home whereby his wife also shares godly wisdom and points out the Holy Spirit's leading in Richard's life. This relationship is a trinity of true believers who band together against the evil forces hell-bent on tripping Richard up with the intention of sending him to prison.
Female teacher "Kate" is living in the past. She was a former missionary to Africa. She is hopeless yet she is a teacher of the Bible. Richard seeks her out for help with racism. Right after his room is set on fire, actually a cross that his Mother gave him is lit in his room. Kate has no solutions biblical or other. She is self-absorbed with her loss from the past.
Throughout this movie the battle of good vs. evil is hammered and hung high making it impossible to miss. The struggle to survive is demonstrated in Richard's battle to get money to help his sick mother. Throughout this movie Samuel is a father figure/big brother hero. The relationship is not only heartwarming but inspiring. Seeing the love of God and the understanding of Spirit-led faith lived out by Samuel is something we all need to witness more often. I was inspired by his willingness to lose alot by being a helper to Richard.
The fact that Richard was the first and only person (and the only person of color) to quote Scripture was not lost on me. A scene with Kate teaching the class stuck with me. The students were parsing Scripture with no context whatsoever and Richard set them all straight with his declaration of Isaiah 55:11 and Proverbs 3:5-6. He did not state the actual references however he quoted verbatim (I looked them up).
The title is the theme of this movie. I found four references to the theme, "The Least Among You.' http://www.blueletterbible.org/search/translationResults.cfm?Criteria=The+Least+Among+You&t=NIV Matthew 2:6, Matthew 11:11, Luke 7:28, Luke 9:48. Richard also quoted Heb 4:14-16.
Lastly, the President of the college exited the movie with his admitting he basically wanted to be God by stating, "I am the Gardener. I do the pruning." He hung up his pruning shears in that scene. He won't be needing his gardening gloves in Hades.
Not about to be a spoiler, I just want to close with this. In summation, Richard Kelly knew the Word, hid it in his heart. He may have been many things, but he was not a hypocrite like the rest of the class. I cheered for this hero and his friend. I cheered because the world needs the Word not religiosity. I grieved because sadly the rest of the class represents much of 'Christianity' today. However, God will always provide the hero in each generation. They just have to show up for class. He will do the rest. Rent it today!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com
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