Our scripture this week is Matthew 25:31-46, taken today from the Common English Bible (CEB).
“Now when the Human One comes in his majesty and all his angels are with him, he will sit on his majestic throne. All the nations will be gathered in front of him. He will separate them from each other, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right side. But the goats he will put on his left. “Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who will receive good things from my Father. Inherit the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world began. I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you gave me clothes to wear. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.’ “Then those who are righteous will reply to him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? When did we see you as a stranger and welcome you, or naked and give you clothes to wear? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ “Then the king will reply to them, ‘I assure you that when you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Get away from me, you who will receive terrible things. Go into the unending fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels. I was hungry and you didn’t give me food to eat. I was thirsty and you didn’t give me anything to drink. I was a stranger and you didn’t welcome me. I was naked and you didn’t give me clothes to wear. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’ “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and didn’t do anything to help you?’ Then he will answer, ‘I assure you that when you haven’t done it for one of the least of these, you haven’t done it for me.’ And they will go away into eternal punishment. But the righteous ones will go into eternal life.”
Jesus has told us many times that He will return and there will be a reckoning for us. While we know we can’t earn our way into salvation by what we do, how we treat one another is important. We show our love for Him by loving each other.
This lesson has some very specific guidance about caring for God’s children but it is also meant to make us think – what other needs remain to be met? Feeding and clothing and visiting are essential to our wellbeing, but there are many other gifts we are given to be used for His work. Are we actively looking for ways to be in service?
Jesus doesn’t just want us to help when we are asked or when the opportunity drops in our lap. We are called to go and find the last, the least and the lost, to share God’s love proactively. Jesus sends us out with general orders to accomplish, the details are up to us.
Loving Lord, we are often slow to see the needs of our brothers and sisters. Help us to hear and act in Your name, bringing the joy of a connection with You to everyone. Amen.