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.’ -Matthew 25:34-36
Those of you who are familiar with this passage knows that those who are being told this, question when it is that they have done any of this. Their question is answered by, “Truly, I tell you whatever you did for the least of these… you did for me.” So often this passage is used for mission trips, service acts, and any other hands on projects the church goes out and does; however, I think using this passage in that way misses the point.
This passage is about how we as Christians are to treat people, specifically the least, the lost, and the last of these. Yes, it specifically mentions the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the unclothed, the sick, and the prisoner, but what about the homeless, the mentally ill, the addicted, the struggling, the _____________. Do these people not matter because they aren’t listed in the parable?
Jesus answers this with the response to the righteous when they question when it is they did all of those things for him. Jesus says whatever you do for the least of these… you did for me. This answer, portrays that whatever is done for the least of these are done for Jesus, himself.
None of these things make us any less than those around us. This is another example of the role revering nature of Jesus. Jesus is taking on the identity of all of those considered “the least of these.” Jesus is identifying himself with each and everyone of one of you.
How does this change the way you see this parable? How about the way you see others?
Father, God Almighty, we come to You in our needs and our wants. We come to You in our joy and in our suffering. We bring to You our burdens and pain, and we accept that Your yoke is easy and that Your burden is light. We ask that we don’t miss the cry of the needy or see ourselves as lowly because of our neediness. Lord, You know what our every need is and You collect our every tear. Thank You, Lord, for all You do for each of us. In Jesus name, Amen
© 2019 Kiersten Smeal