July 17, 2018
Matthew 25:41-46… Then He will say to those on his left, “Depart from me you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels For I was hungry and you gave me no food. I was thirsty and you gave me no drink. I was naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me. Then they will also answer Him saying, “Lord, when did we see hungry or thirsty or naked or a stranger or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?” Then He will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it unto me.” And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.
This is Jesus’ explanation of the scene before His throne in heaven on the Great Judgment Day. First, let me say that the first line has no political intentions. The use of “left and right” is depicting placement, not attitude. The thing I find interesting is that in that most important hour, this is what Jesus talked about. He didn’t say anything about how well they had tithed or attended church. He didn’t mention whether or not they had prophesied. He didn’t praise them for singing the song of the Lord or for their great sacrifices.
He talked about how they had treated the poor and needy. Apparently, that is a big deal to Jesus. Should it not also be a big deal to us?
First, I must note; we do not get into heaven by caring for the needy. The only way into heaven is believing in Jesus. But… if we believe in Jesus, we obey Him. If we believe in Jesus and believe He has done what He claims to have done, do we not have a compulsion to do what He asks of us? If He is not all that He claims, we should run as quickly as we can away from Him.
So, if we believe in Jesus, we must have a heart for the needy… not judgment… not condemnation… but a heart to help. Many people go to rough places like Africa to help the hurting and needy. That is a great ministry and I applaud it, but we can’t deny the presence of hurting and needy people in the United States. In terms of what we lack, we are far better off than some people in other countries but in terms of emotional pain, we are just as bad if not worse off. Do you feel entitled to comfort? I suspect many of us do. We aren’t.