In Matthew 25 starting in verse 31, Jesus talks about the final judgement. The Bible tells us that when Jesus comes into His glory then all the nations will stand before Him and Jesus will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the goats from the sheep. Now in Asia and Africa the goats and the sheep are difficult to tell apart visually, but the shepherd knows. But as our Shepherd, Jesus knows the difference and will separate the sheep to His right and the goats to His left. So what distinctions will Jesus use to separate the two?
Continuing in Matthew 25 verse 33, Jesus will welcome those at His right hand into the Kingdom of Heaven and will distinguish them by their acts of charity towards Him. The righteous, as Jesus refers to them, are perplexed as to when they helped Jesus and Jesus tells them that anyone they helped was equivalent to helping Him. Now in Matthew 25 verse 41, we learn that those separated to His left are told by Jesus to depart from Him and go to an everlasting fire with the devil and his angels. The cursed, as Jesus calls them, are told they did not provide for Him when he was hungry, thirsty, homeless, sick and in need. As the righteous, the cursed asked when they saw Him and He reminds them that anyone they didn’t help was when they saw Him.
This parable is so convicting in that how many times have you sat at the red light with a person standing outside in the blazing sun holding a sign asking for help? And how many times have we helped that individual in need, whether you actually gave them money or not? The word help is a key word, because if we give them money are we really helping them or are we enabling them to continue a habit that has led them to begging for money? I know this is a lot to contemplate, but if we are being honest with each other, it has got to be something you have thought of before.
As most of you know, I am jaded towards those begging on the street corners after working with the homeless ministry. As I worked with those less fortunate then me, I listened to their scams and the ways they can cheat the system, of how they can qualify for double-triple benefits by claiming fake family members or how they can go to the different charites to receive items then sell them for money to support their addiction. It frustrated me to see them embrace their poverty, when I could see how smart they are at manipulating the system. But no matter how jaded I felt, any one of them is equivalent to Jesus (Matt.25:40) and I need never turn my back on the One who offered me eternal life through salvation.
To be a believer in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you must believe that He died for all our sins on that cross, you must repent and confess your sins before GOD ALMIGHTY. To be a Christian (Christ-Like), we must be a follower of Jesus Christ and keep His commandments (1John 2:3-4).
In Matthew 22: 37-40, “Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.””
How many times have I avoided eye-contact with that man or woman outside my car window, while I sat for a minute or two? To think that I sat within a few feet of Jesus Christ and couldn’t make eye contact, makes me ashamed to call myself a follower of Christ. I have no excuse for my indifference towards those less fortunate then me and I have failed Jesus by not allowing His Light to shine through me. In Matthew 25, Jesus is separating everyone into two distinct categories, the righteous and the cursed. Jesus defines the categories as simple as those who did for others and those who did not. I pray that we all take heed while we can and do for the least of those who need our help.
As simple as those instructions may be, I know I will struggle with thoughts of how the money will be used and that is none of my business. That money is given unto the Lord and He will use the money according to His Will. Furthermore, that money was a blessing from the Lord in the first place. The Lord provides us the job that pays us a paycheck that affords us money in our pocket. Jesus stated in Matthew 25:40, “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’” Let Us not turn our eyes away anymore. It is time to roll down the window, look them in the eye and extend them the fortunes we have received from the Lord.
It is time to claim our sheep status and serve everyone as if they were Jesus Christ standing before us needing food because He was hungry, needing water because He was thirsty, needing clothing because He was naked, or as a stranger needing shelter. This much is true: someday we will stand before the Lord and He will separate us based on what we did or did not do for others. It is time to step up and recognize the needs in our presence and then do something about it. I do not think we can fix all the problems and I do not believe we are supposed to. For I believe that the Lord’s Will be done and we are only to participate in His Will.