“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation 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; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to 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? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” ~ Matthew 25:31-46
Most of us are very familiar with this passage, but we don’t always practice it. We tend to think people should “pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.” Today, government creates a safety net for those in need, and many of us think this is not the proper role of government. But it is the proper role of Christians to care for the least of our brethren. Perhaps if we did a better job of it, there wouldn’t be so many needs for government to try to meet. Years ago, our tiny church was taking its first steps into helping others. I distinctly remember one member of the congregation loudly protesting our giving to people outside our parish. “If we’re going to help anyone,” she said, “it should be our own people.” Jesus’ words remind us that the least of His brethren are our own people.
Lord God, touch my heart to care for “the least of these.” Give me discernment in my giving so that whatever financial contributions I make go to organizations that do the most good in the Name of Jesus. Touch my heart to help in other ways—a kind word, a gentle touch, a listening ear—to show Your love and give comfort to those who are hurting. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
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