Blessed… Does it Work?

“Now when the Human One comes in his majesty and all his angels are with him, he will sit on his majestic throne. All the nations will be gathered in front of him. He will separate them from each other, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right side. But the goats he will put on his left. “Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who will receive good things from my Father. Inherit the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world began. I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you gave me clothes to wear. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.’ “Then those who are righteous will reply to him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? When did we see you as a stranger and welcome you, or naked and give you clothes to wear? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ “Then the king will reply to them, ‘I assure you that when you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Get away from me, you who will receive terrible things. Go into the unending fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels. I was hungry and you didn’t give me food to eat. I was thirsty and you didn’t give me anything to drink. I was a stranger and you didn’t welcome me. I was naked and you didn’t give me clothes to wear. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’ “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and didn’t do anything to help you?’  Then he will answer, ‘I assure you that when you haven’t done it for one of the least of these, you haven’t done it for me.’ And they will go away into eternal punishment. But the righteous ones will go into eternal life” (Matthew 25:31-46, Common English Bible).

If you would have asked me when I was a kid I would have told you today’s lesson was my favorite passage in all Scripture. Today that is a portion of Romans 8 but Matthew 25 is still a good chapter to have around. If nothing else, it should serve us as a reminder to be ready and, in the words of James, “Faith without works is dead.”

Today’s lesson is another parable. Matthew wanted his readers to know what was important, often by not saying clearly what was important because such is the nature of parables.

That is not the case with today’s parables. Jesus is making it abundantly clear what is expected of us. And, while we are justified by faith, faith must come together with deeds that show our faith is alive. Faith that is not real is faith that is misguided. There is nothing here to indicate the one and only thing we all must do is believe. If you believe in the Christ, you believe in the people of Christ. And, if you believe in the people of Christ, both those who have faith and those who don’t, you have got to be ready to go out and serve. It is not possible to say with meaning or real conviction, I love Jesus without loving Jesus’ body the Church. It isn’t possible to say I love God, with meaning or real conviction if we fail to love those who are created in God’s image, and that is everyone.

Jesus drives this service of others idea home by saying what we do, or do not do, we do or do not do to Him. If we serve our neighbor, we serve Christ. If we neglect neighbor, we neglect Christ.

Of that, there is no middle ground.

Do you serve or do you neglect Christ?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

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