Matthew 25:45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’
Matthew 25:31-46 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
NATO – This term came to mind as I read today’s passage. I am not referring to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization but to the acronym for “No Action Talk Only”.
In Matthew 25:31-46, this acronym fits the group that is likened to goats. Even though they acknowledged Jesus as Lord and claimed to have ministered to the Lord (v. 44), Jesus revealed that their devotion was NATO because they had not put into practice that important commandment which God has given i.e., love your neighbour as yourself (Matt 22:39).
How could their devotion to God be genuine if they had no regard for those who were in need and who mattered so much to God? 1 John 4:21 makes it very clear, “…whoever loves God must also love his brother.”
This is the same reason why the sheep in today’s passage are commended by Jesus. Their acts of love towards the needy were acknowledged by Jesus as an act of love towards Him. The outcome of such genuine devotion is the inheritance of the kingdom of God, whereas the outcome of a NATO devotion from the goats is mentioned in verse 41, “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” It is a harsh but fair consequence, for why should anyone who does not have a genuine relationship with God have any right to inherit His treasured possession.
During this Lent, may we seek to grow a genuine and deeper devotion to God by putting our faith into action and God’s Word into practice, particularly in showing compassion to those who may be physically or spiritually hungry, thirsty, naked, sick or imprisoned. Our love for them would be a visible act of our love for God.
1. What must you stop, start or continue doing in order to grow a genuine and deeper devotion to God?
2. How can you give up your time, money, comfort, etc., to help an individual or a group of people who may be in need?
We would like to thank Revd. Daniel Lim (Priest) from St. Andrew’s Cathedral for today’s devotion.
Republished with permission from St Andrew’s Cathedral.
What must you stop, start or continue doing in order to grow a genuine and deeper devotion to God?
- I must stop thinking that I don’t know or can’t help those around me.
- I must start stepping out of my comfort zone to serve and love those around me.
- I must continue asking people what their needs are and seeking to meet them.
You have commanded me to love my neighbour. Please forgive me for the times when I do not obey You. Help me to stop thinking that I cannot reach out to those around me, and help me to start stepping out of my comfort zone to meet the needs of those around me. May I be a beacon of Your love to people.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Pray for someone who may be physically or spiritually hungry, thirsty, naked, sick or imprisoned.