Matthew 25:40 “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.'”
It needs to be said that this is not a parable, it is a statement, perhaps a prophecy. He wasn’t giving a figurative illustration, He was stating flat out how things will be in the Judgment. That should make us take this very seriously indeed. Some churches do that, focusing on social ministries to the exclusion of even sharing the Gospel, but it does people no eternal good to have their temporal needs met without being brought into eternal life. On the other hand, some churches focus on sharing the Gospel to the point of despising social ministries, and that runs afoul of what Jesus said here. It calls for more wisdom than we have in ourselves, so we need to seek God’s guidance at every turn. I am reminded of something else Jesus said: “I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.” (Mark 9:41) We are to meet needs as we encounter them, but we are to do so in the name of Jesus, letting people know about Him so that they may have their eternal, spiritual needs met as well as their temporal, physical needs. I haven’t been on the ground with them to watch them in action, but my understanding is that Samaritan’s Purse does this very well. They are perhaps the world’s foremost emergency relief organization, and at the same time they are so effective in sharing Christ that some Muslim countries have rejected their help. We all would do well to learn from their example, as well as support their ministry.
This is something of an “Oh dear!” subject for me, because by inclination I tend toward the “Gospel only” camp. Cathy, on the other hand, doubtless has a mountain of rewards piled up in heaven because of all she has done for people. That’s probably why the Lord put us together! As much as I admire Samaritan’s Purse, I’ve only contributed to them financially once, and that wasn’t very much. I teach others about being channels of God’s supply, but I don’t know how available I am for that myself. I do know that it feels very good when I am able to go visit one of our members who is in a group home about 90 minutes away. I think that perhaps comes under what Jesus said here. In any case, I am to seek to see people as God sees them and act accordingly, as His agent for His glory.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Help me remember it when I am tempted to resentment when someone needs me to do something for them. Help me indeed serve You through serving those around me, however You guide me to do so. Thank You. Praise God!