“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.’ Matthew 25:34-40
So much in our lives pushes us to work and do for credit, for self-advantage. We are taught, advised, and constantly media-reminded to get and enjoy what we deserve, to put ourselves first and forward, to build our resume, to get involved because it makes us feel good, to see and be seen with the important, the influencers, those who can give some benefit back. There is something beautifully refreshing about ‘those on the king’s right’ who do not even realize they have served Him in their generosity to ‘the least of these.’ Their passion was captivated by the poor, needy, and disenfranchised, their motive simply to do the right thing, their caring and giving a natural outflow of loving hearts that knew mercy well enough to spill it out for others. This is service that pleases God. There is no thought for self, for what it costs, for who would notice. The selfless acts toward those who cannot repay find favor with Him because they mirror His for us.
Jesus paid a debt for us we owed, and can never repay. He calls us to do likewise, in His name. When we grasp the immensity and completeness of His gift to us, we not only want to give in return, but His life in us makes it natural. We welcome Him to take our life reins, and He takes possession of and transforms our deepest instincts. (Matthew 20:28; Galatians 2:20; 1 Timothy 2:6)
“When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.” ~Isaac Watts (1707)
Bountiful King, remind me regularly that You, not I, inhabit my life’s throne. As I go about my day may I forget all but You, and so live that my hands extend Your love, my lips speak Your life-giving truth, my life pulses with your compassion and grace.