I’m barely getting this Monday School posted today but this has been rolling around in my head since day 4 of my Advent devotional and I wanted to share my thoughts. For more information on Monday School go here.
The Bible reading for day 4 was Matthew 25:31-46. I never thought of the passage as one for Advent, but the devotional did what was intended. It caused me to think over and over again about what Jesus said when telling of his next coming.
“….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 creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
Then to the others he says “Away with you…..for I was hungry and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink……”
The didn’ts go on and on. You didn’t invite me. You didn’t clothe me. You didn’t visit me. Then the ones that didn’t……..ask the Lord, “When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?”
Don’t miss this! The ones that were feeding and caring and helping did not realize they were doing it for the King, and the others…the ones that were not feeding or caring or helping, wondered when they had ever seen him hungry or naked or sick and not helped him.
Are we missing it too? Do we see the hungry and thirsty ones? Are we like the priest and the Levite in the parable of the Good Samaritan, on our way to serve God, yet ignoring the needy ones near us? Do we rush to our scheduled times of serving and miss the least of these living in our own neighborhoods? Are we so tired from our structured self-righteousness that we miss the opportunity to care for a co-worker? Are our calendars crammed so full of religious responsibilities we can’t give our full attention to the people God gave us in our families?
Jesus made it clear that those who do a lot of good things in His name do not necessarily know Him.
“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you……”
Father, forgive us for missing it. Forgive us for choosing the checklist of religious activities over seeking You wholeheartedly. Help us see Father, then help us love.