Bible Reference: Matthew 25:42-43
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)
Bible Text: 42 For when you saw me hungry, you refused to give me food, and when you saw me thirsty, you refused to give me something to drink.43 I had no place to stay, and you refused to take me in as your guest. When you saw me poorly clothed, you closed your hearts and would not cover me. When you saw that I was sick, you didn’t lift a finger to help me, and when I was imprisoned, you never came to visit me.’
OBSERVATION: I’m sure that most of my readers will read the above, and if they don’t know the scriptures, they are probably wondering which local church, or group of people, might Jesus be referring to. I wonder what forms of testing (in our minds) might we look for when we observe others who claim to be ‘Christian’. What if we used the same methodology as Jesus did, will anyone make it to heaven in our judgment of them today? How do you suppose you and I might fear in His eyes, would we make it?
APPLICATION: There is an old saying that has long been quoted based on what we hear words come from an honest man’s mouth: ‘from the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks’. I believe that Jesus is saying that there are attributes about our life that are strong indicators about whose we are. It’s a very sobering and frightful thought, because it seems like we are part of a world where most of us look to meet our own needs, our own wants, our own timelines, our fast-paced, very programmed, full scheduled, selfish world, where helping others are often excluded. All too often we tend to leave it up to the government, or the church, or the pastor, or perhaps family to care for those who are broken, or in need of a hand-up. But did you notice how Jesus never referred to the fact that we should give, so our church could help those in need, or we should vote, so we could make sure that our government helps, even though these are two areas in most countries that will help those in need? Friends, I believe that the intent of Jesus here, is to help us to understand that these are ways that a heart filled with Jesus, would express itself. Look again at the ways that Jesus illustrated this to us: (a) Feed those that are hungry – I heard of someone who took a team to serve meals to the hungry who had come in off the street looking for food. They were so humbled, that it had a serious impact on their lives. When last have we stopped to even chat with a person who hadn’t eaten in 24 hours, or perhaps turned around and purchased a meal to take back for them? Do you suppose that Jesus would do something like that? (b) Those that are thirsty – although similar to (a), yet slightly different. You find yourself thirsty, yet you pass by someone along the road waiting for food or a ride to somewhere. You see their lips parched, but still you drive on by after making many judgment calls on why they are in that position. Would Jesus have gone the extra mile to get them a drink? (c) In need of shelter – you have several rooms that are now unused in your home, but isn’t it virtually impossible to apply the brakes on your car and invite a homeless person to spend the night at your place? I believe that we have even become too selfish to house visiting preachers or evangelists. After all, why should I do that when no one else even considers it? What do you suppose Jesus would do in either of these circumstances? (d) In need of clothes – Many thrift stores will sell pieces of clothing for a quarter most days, because so much has been donated to relieve overcrowding in the closets of the ‘rich and famous’. But I wonder if perhaps Jesus was pointing out that a heart that looks like His would actually see a need, and humbly meet that need for clothing. Yes, you could send them, or take them to the Thrift store, but when last have you passed by someone in need and actually went out of your way to fulfill that need without being asked to? (e) Sick and in need of help – A Christian’s mind is relieved by saying that he would pray for that sick one. And that is commendable, if indeed we remember that promise to pray, after walking away. But carefully notice that Jesus mentioned that we saw the need and didn’t come to help. Do you remember how challenging it was to get around that time as you stayed at home recovering from your surgery, or that time while you were so weak as you dealt with recovery from a serious illness? Didn’t you wish that God would send one of His precious angels to cook a meal for you, or take you to the doctors? Wouldn’t Jesus have been all over that situation? (f) In prison, but totally forgotten by family, friends, the church and society as a whole. Yes that Brother made a mistake, but are they not still your friend? You wouldn’t be able to socialize around church, but don’t you know that there’s a void for that prisoner when you are unable to show that you care? Jesus met us where we were, shouldn’t we do the same for those we care about? Jesus separated the ‘sheep’ from the ‘goats’ based on these principles. What do you suppose would be your sentence, friend?
PRAYER: Father in heaven, we are such a spoiled bunch, You have blessed us with so much, yet we hold it tight to ourselves and often feel like we have earned our blessings and therefore can easily choose what we should do with them. This has hardened us to look on others in need without it impacting our hearts, and for this I humbly ask for your forgiveness, Lord. Christians often ask, and mostly strive to be more like You every day, but I pray today that change would come from impacted hearts, touched by Your ministry, Your character and Your words. Help us to set self aside and assume soft, moldable, usable hearts directed by the Master alone. Those in need, are really in need of Jesus more than anything else, and we all fit into that. Oh that we may constantly be aware of the need for our Savior, and may our hearts be humbled to not only seek Your face for our needs, but for ways to help others. Lord grant us wisdom to move and/or speak just like You demonstrated, so that others might truly see Jesus. AMEN!