When Did We, When Did We Not?

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory,.. 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… 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, 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?’  He will answer them, ‘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 25:31-32,34-45

When faced with a comment or assessment we do not understand, it is natural to wonder and want an explanation. The humble and selfless really do not take notice of their deeds, and so can be uncomfortable with any kind of commendation. When faced with a judgment we do not want to hear, we can be differently uncomfortable, and defensive, and want to justify ourselves. We live at the fore, every offense is personal, and because we are so touchy, we try to excuse our deeds into acceptance. Jesus says what is real and true no matter how His statements are received. Our reaction reveals our genuine motivation.

If we are focused on nourishing, visiting, caring and tending, we’ll be so absorbed in extending the hands and heart of Jesus we’ll ask only, “When did we?” We’ll go about God’s will in the power and intent of the Spirit, not asking details or trying to earn credit. Our very self-forgetfulness, stemming from an innate passion to serve and glorify God, honors Him in the doing. (Acts 1:6-8)

But when our motives are impure, our generosity measured only by practicality or favoritism, and our good works limited to what garners applause, we displease our Lord. Our reward, if any, is merely temporal. (Matthew 6:2-4)

For whom do I go about my daily duties and service? Whose honor and repute do I seek to exalt?

Lord, may all I do be for the blessing of You and the benefit of others.

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