Matthew 25:31-46 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 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, ‘I assure you: Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers 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, ‘I assure you: Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me either.’
“And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
I know which side I want to stand on. But to be found standing on that side, we must be found “doing” –or LIVING—working with all that we have for Jesus. If we focus only on the “task”…and not Him, then it becomes our god…HE alone is to be worshipped.
· When we get caught up in the details we lose sight of what we are here for…not for us…but for HIM…and others.
V 35: For I was hungry…
What is the world hungry for? Let’s roll back the clock to a year in your teens…what were you hungry for?
Most of us could and would answer—attention.
To be noticed—
To be valued.
Too often we discover all around us are people who struggle living daily—feeling that they have no value—they are starving to death for someone to share a piece of life with them. Most of the time—they want more than a smile. They need an ear—a shoulder.
Sunday afternoon—I was sitting on my porch—the birds chirping—the ceiling fan stirred the warm air—and I hear the rustling of leaves.
I hear it…but I don’t see it.
I don’t get up. I continue doing what I set out to do…
That’s what we do. Day after day—we hear them.
We even sometimes smell them. We know they’re there.
Some of the time we even may acknowledge them—but there are days when they are a bother.
Their noise and needs and even existence seem to interrupt whatever nice flow of life we have.
I had gone out to my porch to soak up HIM. I wanted to be alone with Him. My head leaned back on the padding of my chair—and all of a sudden—HIS creation interrupts my quiet. ……………My private world…
They are hungry…
They have questions…
We have answers…yet we are so tucked inside our world…with a nice “do not disturb” sign on the door of our hearts and minds—refusing to answer.
We may not wear a visible sign, but the very fact that we “look away”—tells the tale.
We know in our hearts—although—to admit it to another—we would never do…
but God knows. He’s not deaf, nor is He blind.
They have needs—just as we do—and what if the one He sent to be the ear or shoulder—passed them by as a nuisance….a bother.
Refusing to hear…
Refusing to help…
Yet there are those individuals who look for opportunities to help. Who don’t mind the interruption to their day…thinking that possibly here is a chance to serve God by serving another. Here is a chance to love God by loving another…here is a chance to feed God…by feeding another….VISIT with God—by visiting another.
I cannot presume to label you—sheep from goats…although, the label is clear to His eyes…but just as quick as you can change your mind—you can change your label—with the HELP of God. God knows who and what each of us are—HE knows the hidden places of our hearts…and whatever we are today…HE can change tomorrow…If you’re a taker—He can help you become a giver…
If I were to pen this same passage today—this is what it might say:
“All the nations—every tribe and tongue—man-woman-teenager—boy or girl 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 givers on His right…and the takers on His left…Then the King will say to those on His right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father-inherit the Kingdom—which was prepared for you from the very beginning of the world…
…For I was a runaway teenager,
Lost in my own world of “self”
Without clothes or food—and no one to help.
Yet you fed me plenty and clothed me clean,
Loved me without judgment—treated me like a queen.
I was the mother of the runaway teenager…
On no shoulder could I cry,
When that same teenager still full of strife,
Turned up months later—
Yet now carrying life.
You pulled me to you and let me cry….
Then wiped my tears until they dried.
I was the sister—who had nothing to drink—
Parched from life of sin on the brink.
My heart bore the scars of neglect and abuse—
With calluses of a lifetime and feelings of no use.
You opened your heart and your home so free
You poured me a drink—Living Water it was, all for me.
My sin took me far—stripped me bare—dumped me out
Yet in my cell you reached in—because you had no doubt
That the One who died for you…did the same for me
And because of your love…today I am free.
Then the righteous will answer Him, Lord, when did we see you as a runaway, as one of pain, starving, homeless and hopeless? When did we clothe you or visit you in prison’s chains…
And the king will answer; whatever you did for one of my beloved daughters…you did for me.”
Picture with me two scenes:
1) A 14 year old girl, sweaty and fearful. Tears streaming as pain after pain grips her young body. Her mother nearby, her father perhaps waiting outside—head hanging—there’s no one to call. Her body tenses as each pain tears at her for release, when finally a small life struggles out—to be held and gazed upon by those who are not sure they can handle this red, wrinkled life. Tears flood the older mother’s eyes as she sees with clarity all that her young daughter, now a mother will have to give up. Years of teenage antics and fun have just been replaced by wee morning hour feedings, burp cloths and dirty diapers. The older mother wears guilt like a cape, heavy and scratchy like rough wool around her drooping shoulders. Who will help?
2) A young couple in the next room, hands clasp tight as the final push brings forth new life. A wriggling, screaming baby emerges into a world of lights. Excitement and tears of joy rush the room—as they snap pictures of her exquisitely fluid arrival taking place. The calls begin to go out and come in, announcing with great delight—the Joy that was born today.
Both births took place…on the same day—somewhere in USA. One full of joy—one less than the ideal situation…One needed help… the other…most likely had more help than they knew what to do with.
What do we do? There are those in our cities, in our communities, neighborhoods and even churches…in need.
Hurting. Hungry. Hopeless. What can we do for them?
Here are just a few things we can do:
1) Pray for them. They need to KNOW someone is praying—and they need to know you care.
2) Give. Of your time, your money or other resources and your love.
a. Maybe you can sew. Sew baby blankets. Sew burp cloths. Wrap them up in pretty packages and give them to your local Pregnancy Crisis Center—or health department that works in the school system with the pregnant teens. Or give towel/wash cloth soap sets to your local homeless shelter.
b. Maybe you are gifted in having a “listening ear”. They need counselors in crisis centers and homeless shelters—those who they will screen and feel qualified to be there for them. People need to know other people care.
3) Think of creative ways to bless them. “Diaper month.” “Bib and Blanket” month. For homeless shelters, think beyond that—soap, hand sanitizers, toilet tissue, tooth brushes and toothpaste, combs, hairbrush, the list can go on and on…WHAT ABOUT BIBLES? What if you placed some Bibles in every shelter—they don’t have to be expensive— give them hope of life…LIFE.
Every donation makes a difference.
4) Get involved. That’s the biggest thing. Maybe you don’t have an area you feel particularly gifted in…
show up…show interest…show CHRIST.
What would HE do?
He would be a “giver”…a mover and shaker…
© Angie Knight—The Knightly News 2012. All rights reserved.