Our scripture this week is Matthew 25:31-46, taken today from the Christian Standard Bible (CSB).
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 one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 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 by 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 took me in; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me; I was in prison and you visited 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 take you in, or without clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick, or in prison, and visit you?’ “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ “Then he will also say to those on the left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire 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 didn’t take me in; I was naked and you didn’t clothe me, sick and in prison and you didn’t take care of me.’ “Then they too will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or without clothes, or sick, or in prison, and not help you?’ “Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Hearing about the last judgement makes us uncomfortable, and it should. We often ponder decisions that can affect the rest of our lives, knowing they are of huge importance, but do we attach the same significance to our decision to follow Christ? That affects the rest of all time.
Jesus teaches that our choices have consequences and the result of not following His commandments and example is eternal separation from God. When we accept the gift of salvation He offers, we are placing ourselves freely under His rule. The alternative is to be sent away from His presence when He returns.
Jesus tells us that entering the kingdom is a matter of faith in Him and caring for each other. He gives us a simple instruction to look after one another’s needs and if we fail at this, we fail altogether. We are charged with the well-being of our brothers and sisters, caring for them as Christ Himself.
Loving Lord, we are grateful to be called to Your work, looking after each other with Your love. Help us to be good stewards of Your many gifts, using them wisely in Your name. Amen.