Reading: Matthew 25: 45-46
Verse 45: “I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me”.
Today we come to the end of Matthew 25, to the end of the parable of the sheep and the goats. For me, it is one of the most difficult passages of scripture to read and ponder. It often leads me to the question of whether or not I am doing enough for the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God and His justice are not about keeping score, but I often feel conviction when I read this passage. I fail on both ends of the spectrum. There are times when I see hunger or loneliness or some other need and I fail to act. There are times when I do act but not for the right reasons. I do meet a need but it was not for the building of the kingdom of God but it is for a selfish reason that I served. So when I read, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me”, the word ‘whatever’ looms large. It seems that I often fail Jesus and the ones He loves and the ones sent my way.
I also often try and rationalize things in my mind to assuage my guilt. I make excuses or I rationalize why I should not give this person money or I try to convince myself that I do not have the time… I judge and try and make the one n need unworthy of love in my mind, helping my inaction to feel a bit better. And when I do all of these things, they eventually bring on their own conviction and sense of guilt. This sometimes leads me to try and do something for someone, but soon enough I am made aware that my motivation is in the wrong place and I am a goat in the parable.
It is a tough parable to wrestle with. I do not like where it often leaves me. Yet in the end, I realize that it is not a giant scoreboard that Jesus keeps, ever balancing my times when I did meet Jesus in the service of another against those times when I did not serve or when I served for the wrong reasons. Instead Jesus keeps an overflowing well of mercy, grace, and love, offering me chance after chance to love as He loved, to serve as He served. In the end, I believe the only question that will matter is this: do you love me?