31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
This passage can either instil fear into our hearts or leave us with a great sense of hope and encouragement. I think this passage is clear on how we as a body we are to operate and function. We as Christians are not only called to live out Christ-likeness but we are to exhibit these things in our hearts.
A few weeks ago I was at church listening to a sermon being preached on starting off the New Year on the right foot. The pastor focused on the fruit of the spirit. He encouraged us to find one thing that we feel like we need to work on and prayerfully work through keeping true to our goal. It was basically a heart challenge and I was so convicted because it made me start to think if what I was living out was truly from the heart? Had I become so complacent in my walk that I was just living out the Christian life without any means of passion for God’s word and for living it out.
We are called to examine our hearts and the way we live our lives each day. God holds us to higher standard then simply doing good deeds. Our word, thoughts and actions are to align with His and we are to be purposefully driven to express a Christ-like attitude. When the world looks at me, I pray that my words are met with action in spreading the love of Christ to other around me. I want to be known as being a child of God and part of His Kingdom.
The passages from the lectionary this week really focus on unity and taking care of the outcasts and people who are often overlooked, or even oppressed. In Matthew 25:31-40 we can see that not only is it good to work towards these ends but that God requires it and we will eventually be judged on how well we did such things.
To those whom are inheriting the kingdom (verse 34-36) it was their care for the hungry, oppressed, and outcasts, that Jesus judged them by. It should be stressed that in this passage Jesus said nothing about believing the right things; rather, He speaks of behavior expected of His sheep. This should not surprise the reader as Jesus’ brother, James, also wrote about such things.
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.