There is a passage in Matthew 25 it seems we have often overlooked. This chapter is a part of what is called the “Olivet Discourse” of Jesus, which actually begins in Chapter 24 and continues through Chapter 25. The cause for the discourse was Jesus’ answer to the well-known question of the disciples, “…What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”
We are very familiar with the first several parts of this significant portion of scripture. We are assured that wrs and rumors of wars, false prophets, the abomination of desolation, and the sun and moon being darkened, and budding fig tree are definite signs of the end of time, and know that we are seeing them fulfilled.
We are, also, sure that we should heed not only the story of the virgins who foolishly did not have enough oil but also the warning of the wicked and slothful servant who did not multiply his talents.
The question is, though, have we overlooked the last part of Matthew 25?
“I was hungry . . . thirsty . . . naked . . . sick . . . in prison . . . Inasmuch as you did it not to one of the least…ye did it not to me.”
Jesus said this to his disciples, not to the Department of Health and Welfare. His words were not spoken to trained social workers and the Department of Social Services.
Maybe it is easier to preach and think about things far away – things that will happen that we do not control – about the things we can spiritualize – than to think about this very specific and personal assignment. It seems we have overlooked our responsibility when it comes to destitute and needy people.
Human need and human suffering are a part of the end time.
The righteous and unrighteous were divided by what they did about it.
With comfortable homes, with bulging closets and waistlines, with fine cars (plural!) and all the trappings of life in this 21st century, it’s easy to stop reading when we get to the part about people who are without all the things we take for granted.
Maybe we need to read the end of Chapter 25. . . and ask Him to speak to us about what we should be doing for Him as we reach out to His children who are naked, in prison, hungry, afraid, lonely, and in need. Let the words echo in our hearts and minds – to become action in our lives – “Unto the least of these . . . unto me…”