“They will also 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?’ He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’” Matthew 25:44-45 NIV
It is incredibly sobering to think that we could live our entire lives believing that our future lies in Heaven, only to find out that we were living deceived. If you read through the entire passage of Matthew 25:31-46 (and I would encourage you to do so), you’ll see exactly what I mean. Those that were well-intending “Christians” were met with these fatal words from Jesus’ mouth: “Depart from me, I never knew you.” What?! How could you or I live our whole life assuming we were on God’s side and somehow miss out on the future prize of eternity with Him? The only answer to that is this: by failing to love the least of these. Did you know that simply because you live in America, simply because you have access to the internet, simply because you’ve received a formal education, simply because you can access clean water and a toilet that flushes (and the list of criteria could go on and on)…did you know that for these reasons you are considered wealthy? We have immediate access to resources that a majority of the world lacks. So, I would pose this question to you: how are you using what has been given to you to meet the needs of those that are living without?
The hard reality we are faced with as we read these few verses of Matthew is that eternal separation from God is what awaits those who fail to love the least of these. Wow. Take a deep breath and let that one sink in. We assume that once we’ve said a prayer and changed our Facebook info to state “Christian” as our religious belief system that suddenly we are on the winning side. Jesus raises the bar for those who would call themselves His followers, though. His heart beats for the underprivileged, for the poor, for the hurting, for those that society has discarded, for those on the fringes. Do you even know anyone that would fall into these categories? Do you strategically keep yourself from people and places like this because the reality of poverty makes you uncomfortable? I don’t know about you, but when that day comes when we all stand before God, I don’t want to hear Him say these words to me: “Depart from me, I never knew you.” What, then, would qualify our faith? Matthew seems to make it pretty clear – love the least of these.
Is there an organization that you can partner with on a regular basis that exists to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to visit the sick and the imprisoned, to welcome in the poor and the stranger?