31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory.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, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’45 “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Over the last couple of months, I have found myself prompted by the Lord to share a message in several speaking engagements that I have been invited into. This message is one that is burned into my very being, as I do believe it to be the core and very fiber of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. This passage of scripture above has been a very central focus and challenge for me for the last ~20 years. From it I have titled this blog and the message I have been sharing over these past couple of months.
A partnering passage that has been on my heart has been James 2:14-17…
14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?Can such faith save him?
15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.
16 If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?
17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
We serve an empty faith and religion when we live in mere religion… simple acts of ritual, repetition, and regulation (attending mass or church weekly, monthly, yearly, or even maybe only on Easter and Christmas, saying the right things, and putting on an appearance). Our faith is dead and empty when it is not accompanied by actions, love, and an intentional love relationship with Jesus Christ. We are called to more… We are called to care, and not just for those near and dear to us, but for the least of these… the brokenhearted, down trodden, poor, oppressed, orphaned, widowed, sick, imprisoned, and the needy of many sorts.
One of my great comforts, as Abogar works with ‘the least of these’… those orphaned and homeless in Latin America… is that we are working for the Lord Himself. Not just in an indirect and metaphorical way, but the Word of God above says that whatever we do not do for the least of these, we do not do for Him. That which we do do, loving on and providing Christ-centered homes, family, education for these precious children, we also do for the Lord Himself! May we be found guilty of housing, clothing, feeding, watering, educating, and providing not only for these children but also for the Lord Himself!
So today I want to challenge you… Are you a sheep or a goat? Will you and I be accused of tending to the Lord, of loving Him well, because we answered His call to care for the least of these; accused of being a sheep? Or will you and I come before the Lord hoping to be sheep but actually be goats? How today in your life are you answering this very serious call of the Great King and Lord? We are called to care for the least of these! Let us be about the King and Shepherd’s great work!