Then the King will say to those on the 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 fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.'
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? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you?'
And the King will tell them, 'I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!' Matthew 25: 34-46This passage was recently brought to my mind. I wondered, “So who is the least of these?” If you look the word ‘least’ up in the dictionary it says “lowest in importance or position.” Jesus defines righteous living in terms of acts of justice, kindness and compassion done to the least of these.
So WHO are the least of these? Who are considered “lowest of importance or position in my day”?
As I processed through this I realized that the least, those left out of society of that day, were the ones that society rejected. They were the sick, the poor, those who appeared to have no value to society.
But they are the ones who came to Jesus and found life, love and lasting hope. When they came to Him He touched them in order to heal them. He loved them. He did not ask how or why they were in their particular circumstances. He just reached out and touched them.
Jesus' promise is that as we care for those in the community, no matter their circumstance, we are caring for him. We can actually experience Immanuel, God with us, when we care for the least of these.
So what I see according to this passage is that I should be “Jesus” to those who are “the least of these”. Through acts of mercy, kindness, and justice I have the opportunity to experience the blessedness of inheriting the kingdom prepared for me as I minister, in Jesus, to the least of these who come across my path.
Rather than judging or avoiding those who are live in poverty, or are hungry, homelessness and imprisonment I am given the blessing of ministering to them. Why do we not see it as a blessing?
In ministering to the least of these I serve my Lord, and get to see, in the faces of those I touch, the face of Jesus.
O Father why is this often so difficult for you children, for me. I pray that you would give me a heart of concern and compassion for those who are left out and forgotten. Help me to love and minister to those abandoned by the world. Help me be “Jesus” to them so that they will see you in me. Please give me courage to identify with those who the world not only shuns and shames, but those the world persecutes and ridicules. Father, give me a heart like Jesus for those who are hurting. In the name of Jesus, my Savior, I pray. Amen.