“Come, you who are blessed by my Father, take your inheritance…” (verse 34). On the day you stand before the Lord, do you hope to hear those words of acceptance and inclusion? I sure do. But today’s parable is about how some who think they are “in” are sent away from heaven and into eternal punishment.
Evidently the filter for our eternal destination is not totally about whether or not we believe in God or Jesus. It is not about the career we had or how much wealth, possessions, or status we accummulated. It is not even really about if we were regular chuch attenders or consistent givers to the church. Instead of caring about who we were or what we had, Jesus appears to be more concerned about how we live our lives – about the condition of our hearts.
In today’s parable Jesus chooses serving the poor and powerless as the filter. The inheritance we all want went to those who fed the hungry, clothed the naked, cared for the sick, and visited the prisoner. And moreso than if we did any of these things, Jesus is concerned with how we did them. When one works with another in need, is it out of love and compassion, so you see them as Jesus did? Or is one there because they have to be or because it is the ‘right thing to do’?
“Whatever you did not do to the least of these, you did not do for me” (verse 45) was Jesus’ response to those who thought they were “in” but were not. It is not that we all have to be in full time ministy to the poor, but it is really about how we respond when God calls. Are we willing to lovingly serve those God places before us or to give our time or gifts when they are needed? Do we hear God’s voice speaking through the Holy Spirit? Do we answer His call? And most importantly, when we do answer, do we see Jesus in all we meet and in all the situations that God calls us to?
Scripture reference: Matthew 25: 31-46