The Least of These

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

For I did what every other person in my culture does, and you looked at me with a look of disgust and superiority.

For I have kids at home who are going hungry, and you dismissed my request without a moment’s compassion.

For I needed to connect and to tell someone about my day, and you wouldn’t put down your laptop for 10 minutes to listen to me.

For I passed you on the street, and because I’m a Peruvian you tightened your grip on your bag and shot me a suspicious glare.

For I had a particularly rough morning, and you chose not to engage with me and instead withdrew to the comfort of the people who speak English.

For I needed someone to speak truth to me, and you let your embarrassment about your language ability stop you.

For I needed to hear about God’s faithfulness in your life, and you were too scared that people would think you were suddenly religion-crazy to write what He was doing.

Then those on his left will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hurting? Or when did we see you begging? Or when did we walk by you on the street? Or when did we choose our laptops over you?’

The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

So, this is pretty intense, bad news that we ought to treat everyone around us like we’d treat Jesus and we don’t, especially if the examples are from your own life (which they are, for me). But, I guess my point is not to put mounds of guilt on you or to kick start your I’ll Do Better Tomorrow, Because I’ll Try 10 Times Harder routine. My desire is to open your eyes to your sin, as mine are being slowly opened to a small, overwhelming portion of my sin, and point you to your Father who already saw your sin and still loves you. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” And, here’s the great news: God is committed to using us to love others, broken and sinful as we are. And there are such opportunities before us, to serve and love and mess up and ask for forgiveness and love some more.

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.

For I had trouble controlling my anger and yelling seemed like the only choice, and when you were overwhelmed and near tears, you showed me to simply go to the other room, cry if you need to, collect yourself, and try again.

For I had been abandoned all my life, and you came day after day, to take care of my baby and to make jewelry and to love me, even though you felt useless sometimes and even though you struggled to communicate.

For I was overwhelmed with the scope of a project ahead of me, and you came in with excitement and energy to whittle away the To Do lists.

For I was struggling, and you had eyes of faith to see God’s power and, in love, took the thankless task of challenging my unbelief.

For I was having a rough day and you were sensitive to my mood and brightened it with a hilarious story.

For my baby had been crying for hours and I was at the end of my rope, and you finally rocked and sang and walked and bounced her to sleep.

For you knew it would be hurtful for me to watch the sex scene in that movie, and you didn’t let my cajoling or teasing keep you from skipping it.

For you had so much going on within yourself, and yet you had time and compassion for me.

For I needed a hug and you did not let any awkwardness stop you from loving me how I needed it.

For you knew it would be hurtful for me to watch the sex scene in that movie, and you didn’t let my cajoling or teasing keep you from skipping it.

Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you with a baby? Or when did we see you in need of a hug? Or when did we watch a movie with you?’

The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

My point is this: Today you have to opportunity to see Jesus. Look for Him. And love others the way you would love Him.


5 Comments on “The Least of These”

  1. Diana says:

    I like this one too. Good work. People keep confusing us, not just calling me by your name. It’s funny, but I think they are more disappointed that I’m not you.

  2. Kathy says:

    Each of you are doing what God has put before you to do, using the gifts God has given you. All parts of the Body in our own unique way. I am proud of you both.

  3. tedenrice says:

    Eh, I don’t think the disappointment thing is anything except they were going to have a conversation with one person and were surprised to find out they were talking to another. I would be happy to talk to you any day.

  4. Diana says:

    What Karen said.

  5. […] Serious Thoughts about loving others, about whether to be on time in a culture where lateness is a way of life, about missing […]

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