Dear friends.. This post has been a long time coming.. Grab your morning coffee (maybe I’ll treat myself to a fancy little pour-over that my buddy Ben has been teaching me to make), and let’s read Matthew 25:31-46 together with open hearts…
“When He finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all His angels with Him, the Son of Man will take His place on His glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before Him and He will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to His right and goats to His left. Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by My Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:
I was hungry and you fed Me, I was thirsty and you gave Me a drink, I was homeless and you gave Me a room, I was shivering and you gave Me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit, I was in prison and you came to Me.
Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are You talking about? When did we ever see You hungry and feed You, thirsty and give You a drink? And when did we ever see You sick or in prison and come to You?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was Me – you did it to Me.’
Then He will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on His left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because –
I was hungry and you gave Me no meal, I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink, I was homeless and you gave Me no bed, I was shivering and you gave Me no clothes, sick and in prison, and you never visited.’
Then those ‘goats’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are You talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn’t help?’ He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was Me – you failed to do it to Me.’ Then those ‘goats’ will be herded to their eternal doom, but the ‘sheep’ to their eternal reward.”
I don’t know about you, but this floors me. Absolutely levels me.
Do we really love Jesus? He’s all around us. He’s the cashier who was especially slow yesterday afternoon. He’s the dirty, toothy guy on the side of the road begging for food. He’s the annoying coworker who has that shrill, cringe-worthy laugh. He’s the belligerent and cocky parent of our child’s school friend. And how do we treat Him?
Or, what if we take it a step farther? He’s the frightened orphan child in Niger who is raising her three siblings, all four of them riddled with AIDs. He’s the confused and traumatized child soldier who has been through unthinkable horrors. He’s the fourteen-year-old girl who was kidnapped and suffers as a victim of rape on a daily basis, sometimes more than once a day, in an underground trafficking ring in the UK. He’s the exploited and terrified widow in a culture that views her as unwanted property.
Once we know, we are responsible. And how do we treat Him? How are we treating Jesus?
Friends… all of us are called to give everything we have for the Kingdom of God. Everything. What is money, comfort, success, pleasure? Nothing, unless we leverage it to “bring a cup of cold water to the least of these.” What resource has God given you? Use it all to bring food to the hungry, a room to the homeless, a friend to the lonely.
The way we treat our coworkers, our spouse, our children, friends, and strangers is how we are treating Jesus Himself. What you do in generosity and kindness to someone else, you do it to Him. What you do in spite and selfish motivation to someone else, you do it to Him.
“If anyone boasts, ‘I love God,’ and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both” (1 John 4:20-21).
I am not preaching a “works-based gospel,” because that isn’t what Jesus is preaching in the above passage in Matthew. Instead, I’m encouraging all of us to love one another… just as Christ loves us and gave Himself up for us.
Give yourself up for someone today.