OBLIVIOUS TO BLESSING
Lord Jesus, I offer praise to you. I need to learn from your ex- ample, the meaning of selfless giving and servanthood.
Read MATTHEW 25:31-46
The Sheep and the Goats
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 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, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Listen for the Lord to challenge, guide, and direct you through the Word today, so you can serve him better.
The story of the sheep and the goats is a chilling parable at many levels. Those who come before the judgment seat of God are divided not by what they profess or believe, but by the way they put their faith into action. The judgment is not related to the correctness of their theology or the sermons they’ve preached, but to their compassion. Those affirmed by God are motivated by love for others, especially the vulnerable. Those rebuked are indifferent. The story thus warns against apathy and complacency and challenges the illusions we might have about ourselves.
Notice how easy it seems to be to win God’s approval. He is not commending any great achievement these people have attained. The things Jesus focuses on are not costly, except in terms of time and effort. They are simple actions that anyone can take. We can all share food and drink, welcome strangers, provide clothing, and visit the sick and imprisoned. These deeds require only kindness and humility. They are also unselfish. Those who reached out to others were not doing so to get something back. They didn’t want applause or to become the focus. They didn’t see themselves as good. Their actions were the natural, thoughtful responses of those who care about others.
The other group didn’t care about others and were oblivious to their needs or suffering. They imply that if they’d known they would be doing these things for God’s approval they would have done them. That’s not compassion. It’s still self-centeredness. The parable is a challenge to us all. God sees our actions and knows our hearts. He wants us to serve him. We do that best not just by preaching to others, but by sharing our faith in action, motivated by genuine, consistent neighborly love.
Are there things you need to do to show love to someone in need today? Pray that God may guide you to someone who needs your compassion and kindness.
Merciful Lord, I am daily dependent upon your sustaining and forgiving grace.
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