Today’s Bible Reading:
The Final Judgment
31“But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. 32All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.
34“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 creation of the world. 35For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
37“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
41“Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. 42For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. 43I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’
44“Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’
45“And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’
46“And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”
Verse of the Day:
For those of you that didn’t read the last book with us (Interrupted) – it really talked about the reality of Matthew Chapter 25 and what Jesus taught us about serving others. As of today’s reading, we’ve finished the entire chapter of Matthew 25.
I wanted to share with you today what I wrote for our last study after reading this. It really became a wake up call for me:
Sheep & Goats
If you haven’t read through Matthew Chapter 25 entirely, I would highly encourage you to stop right now and do that. And if you haven’t read it in a different translation than what you normally read, do that too.
A word about translations: I’ve found that I love reading certain passages in the Message or New Living Translation. Sometimes I will read the same passage in 2-3 different translations just to get different perspectives. I use the free Bible App on my phone most often, but I also like to use BibleGateway.com to compare different versions side by side.
I appreciate how Jen points out to us that these detailed instructions and teachings from Jesus are top priority – it is His final week on earth. This tells us that we should absolutely pay attention to what He is saying, ya think?
What do you think about when you see these words:
Hungry: do we see a person standing on the corner holding a sign that might not be legit, or a child coming to school that hasn’t eaten a single thing since lunch yesterday?
Thirsty: do we see a drunk addict that wasted everything on booze, or someone so parched that they are searching for living water?
Stranger: do we see weird people that we avoid talking to, or do we invite the neighbors over for dinner taking a risk that they will actually be crazy?
Clothes: do we just toss our leftovers into the Goodwill pile, or do we purposefully package clothes and put them into the hands of those around us that have a need? Btw: Start asking. The needs are very real and they are very much near you.
Sick: do we add the sick to our prayer chain, or do we surround them with support, meals, phone calls, cards, hospital & nursing home visits?
Prison: do we think that this one is for somebody else that feels “called” to the prison ministry, or do we get out of our comfort zone and try it at least once to see what happens when we fully relying on God?
STOP IT RIGHT NOW.
Now I know you’re probably thinking, “Not everyone feels called to do all of these things, Starr!”
I absolutely realize there are other ways God uses individuals to reach the lost and those in need.
But y’all – I can’t help but ask this one question, “Are we allowed to ignore these instructions and teachings completely and still call ourselves followers of Christ?”
How on earth can we justify that these problems are for someone with more money and more time and just turn our heads?
Full honest disclosure: all of the examples above are thoughts that I’ve had when thinking about the sick or the prisoners or the hungry. Too many times I’ve been comfortable thinking those that are “called” to take care of these problems, will. Isn’t that what non-profit organizations are for? I’ll just handle what I’m called to do: lead worship/choir & children’s church.
What a load of crap.
How can I ignore the real needs? I simply can’t anymore.
I’m preaching to myself today more than ever and please don’t feel for one minute that I’m pointing fingers at anyone else. I’ve never thought about how these instructions from Jesus weren’t just for the disciples – the instructions were for me.
I think I’ve said enough for today.
What do you think about the instructions and teachings of Jesus in Matthew 25?
What do these words of “the least of these” mean to you?
How do you make a place for addressing them in your life?
Please tell me I’m not the only selfish one that is struggling with this.