“When Jesus Christ comes in His glory, sitting on His glorious throne, surrounded by His angels, He will separate the righteous from the unrighteous.” (Matthew 25:31-46)
What criteria will He use to determine who are righteous and who are unrighteous?
Jesus sees the righteous as being like those persons who: fed Him when He was hungry; quenched His thirst; took Him in when He was a stranger; clothed Him when He needed clothes; cared for Him when He was sick; or visited Him in prison. Note He did not say: present in Church every Sunday; you prayed for your friend when she was sick; sang in the choir; how many sermons you preached; how well you prayed on Sunday; how good a Sunday school teacher you are; or how sweetly you lead praise and worship.
God is practical and He is loving. He is the God of action. The God of compassion and mercy. He has instructed us to love Him with all our heart, soul, strength and mind; and to love our neighbor as ourselves (See Luke 10:27). Note He did not use love as a noun, but as a verb. In Christ, love is not something you possess but something you do.
How do we love God? We love Him with our heart, soul, mind and strength. In other words – with our whole being, withholding nothing – with everything.
John asks, in 1 John 4:20-21, “How can you say you love God whom you cannot see, yet hate your brother whom you can see? There is a disconnect there. If you love God you demonstrate this by loving your sisters and brothers whom you can see. You can’t love God and hate or be indifferent to other people.”
Jesus said: love your neighbor as yourself. Who is your neighbor? The little girl who lies and steals; the lotto scammer; the hardened criminal; the Rasta man; the annoying family next door that keeps throwing their garbage over the fence; your disrespectful son; the rich man who seems to need nothing. The list goes on… people we love, people we love to hate and those in between.
How should we love them?
As we love ourselves. How do we love ourselves? We don’t withhold any good thing from ourselves such as: forgiveness; accommodation; riches; clothes; nor blessing galore. So too we should love ‘those despicable people’ (our neighbors), you know the kind, yes them too. No good thing should you withhold: forgiveness, housing, riches, clothes, blessings galore.
We go back to Jesus’ return: “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?'” (Matthew 25:37)
His response: “Whatever you do to the least of these my brothers you do unto me.” (Matthew 25:40)
To please God – to do His will – we must ask Him to open the eyes of our hearts so we can see others as He does. We can look beyond the dross of – dirt on a street person, arrogance of the rich man, filthy speech of the curser, the person who refuses help – and see their heart as God sees them – a soul needing to be loved. The lamb, the Shepherd will climb rocky mountains to save.
God in His wisdom has instructed us to love. He will judge us on how well we love others, especially the disadvantaged.
Where do we find the disadvantaged?
Sitting beside us on a Sunday morning. Have we taken the time to really get to know the people we worship with each Sunday? Their joys, sorrows, needs and gifts? Do you know how many of your church sisters are dressed to the nines, smiling at you, praising God with their whole being, but are hungry and will not tell you?
In our families. Your “worthless” cousin – the same one who will not get up off her behind to go and look for work or the one who won’t stop running after men. Have you taken the time to sit and talk with your family members? Know how they think? What makes them happy, sad or gets them fired up? Do they have a need you can fulfill?
In the highways and byways. Hurting people surround us – people affected by crime; frustrated parents; angry drivers on on the roads to name a few. There is a general indiscipline in today’s society – both victims and perpetrators are hurting. Jesus requires us to be the balm for those who hurt. He has given each of us a gift to fill a need in someone else’s life.
Our main purpose as Christians is to lead others to the Kingdom
To do so we must go. How motivated are you to go?
In giving us the Great Commission (See Matthew 28: 18-20) Christ did not say we should make disciples by keeping a worship service. He said to go and make disciples of all nations. We must go and we must do. The growth of the Church (the believers in Jesus Christ) depends on us – every last one of us. The Church is as strong as its weakest member.
What’s preventing you from going? Job, spouse/significant other, lying, stealing, possessions, fun?
What do you need to go? A deeper understanding of the Bible, lack of knowledge about telling others of Christ, confidence, money, an education on the subject?
God knows all these things and has already provided them for you. He is saying the same thing He said to the Israelites caught between the army and the Red Sea – “step into the water”. He will part the sea. He has the power to do so, just rest on it and trust Him. He is saying the same thing He said to the disciples: I will tell you what to say, I will provide for you, seek first the Kingdom, everything else will come.
What is the benefit of going?
Eternal life – we get to live with God forever in a place that is beautiful beyond our wildest imagination. So will you go?
I challenge you to identify someone in your family who is not a Christian. Pray for a week that the Lord will speak to his / her heart and that He will open an opportunity for you to have a heart to heart talk with them. Continue to pray the second week and try to fulfill a need that person has. Invite him / her to Church the third week. Keep inviting them to Church, filling a need and praying for them until they give their lives to Christ. When that happens – start over with a new person.
Reflect on where you are in your walk with God
If He should return now, on which side would He place you? On His left or His right? Please leave your comment below.