Matthew 25:34-40 “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
Even with the most casual reading of the Bible, especially the New Testament, one will soon come to the conclusion and conviction that, while God loves everyone, there is a special place in the heart of God for the poor and the needy, the helpless, and the marginalized. I will refer to these as “the least of these” because this is how Jesus referred to them in Matthew 25!
Concerning the passage above, I have often said, “It doesn’t matter how we slice and dice Matthew 25:31-46, there just is no way of getting around the fact that our Master, the Lord Jesus, is concerned about the poor, the sick, the needy, the hurting, and the marginalized of a society, and He expects His people to be concerned for them also!”
Whether we are talking about orphans, widows, those mired in poverty, immigrants, refugees, racial minorities, or other various groups of people that have been marginalized by mainstream of society – and for the mission-minded Christian, I would add “unreached people groups” – God has not been silent on the church’s responsibility to show compassion and care for “the least of these.” And, by the way, we should not be silent either!
While we have often made many of these matters a political issue, there’s nothing political about them. This isn’t a matter of politics, but a matter of principle! Our concern isn’t what others might say, whether they be our politicians, preachers, or our peers, what we want to know is this: “What does God have to say about it?”
For the Bible-believing Christian, that’s all that really matters!
While I don’t presently live in America, of course, I keep up with the issues of the day – including the “hot button” issues of the day. When you think about it, the “hot button” issues of the day, more often than not, deal with “the least of these.” And sadly, people, yes, even God’s people, tend to let politicians, political commentators, and public opinion, rather than the principles of holy scripture influence and guide their way of thinking on these “hot button” issues concerning “the least of these.”
Brother and sister, this ought not to be!
We have been saved by and serve a compassionate God, therefore, we should be a compassionate people. In other words, the things that break the heart of God should break the hearts of God’s people, especially when it comes to the “least of these.”
Over the next few reflections, we will consider a few of these groups who would be considered “the least of these,” and I am praying that we will pause, ponder, and pray, asking God what we should do and how we should do it!
Just Reflecting on the Least of These!