Bible Verse: God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. Hebrews 6:10
Scripture Reading: Matthew 25:31-46
Read Matthew 25:31-46 for proof of what matters to God. Be prepared for a dose of spiritual reality when you read this passage, because it draws a sharp
contrast between two groups of people: those who are invited into the eternal kingdom, and those who are relegated to eternal punishment. The difference was in the authenticity of the faith of each group. It was easy for Jesus to determine if their faith was genuine — he looked to see if their priorities during life were aligned with his. To the heaven-bound group, Jesus said,
”Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Matthew 25:34-36
Jesus was speaking figuratively; the people Jesus was addressing hadn’t shown kindness to him, but when they did it to “the least of these,” it was as if they were serving him. In other words, the simple, loving acts of kindness extended to the forgotten members of society are reflective of a heart that is aligned with God’s priorities.
For the hell-bound group, the opposite was true. They heard these harsh words:
“Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.” Matthew 25:41-43
As a result of this group’s callous attitude toward the disadvantaged — an attitude that revealed an absence of the love of God in their hearts they went away to eternal punishment.
The biblical theology of suffering contemplates a compassionate Christianity that seeks to care for the impoverished, the impaired, and the deprived. These are the people who are often forgotten and left alone by the more prosperous members of society. They may be considered as unlovely, but they are loved by God. As Christians, we are called to relieve their suffering. It is not complicated. It doesn’t have to be expensive. It can be as easy as …
- giving a drink of water to someone who is thirsty;
- feeding the hungry;
- giving nice clothes to someone whose only apparel is frayed and tattered; or
- showing hospitality to the homeless and the forgotten elderly.
— Bruce Bickel and Stand Jantz, authors of Answering the Toughest Questions About Suffering and Evil
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