“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,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.” (Mt 25:34-36)
The parable of the sheep and the goats has always fascinated me. It is, in my mind, one of the best parables that Jesus ever shared with His people.
The reason I say that is because it appears to speak to people of all ages. No matter how young or how old you are, there is a lesson to be garnered from the parable. And, as one ages, the lessons change but continue to have much impact.
On the surface, we see two groups of people referred to as sheep and goats.
Both groups had the same responsibility: to minister to the Lord.
The sheep did minister to Him, even though they were unaware of it. They thought they were helping other people. They did not see Jesus in the people they were helping. (“Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?”)
The goats did not minister to the Lord. They made it very clear that they would have, had they known that the Lord was in all the people they ignored. (“Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’) Ignoring the plights of others, they discovered that they ignored the Lord as well.
The sheep and the goats both found out the same thing: Jesus dwells not only among His people but within His people.
That is a lesson that we need to learn.
I think all of us desire to get to heaven one day. That is our goal.
Sometimes, however, we become like goats. We get so wrapped up in wanting to minister to the Lord in order to get to heaven; but, we forget the obvious way to do so: serving His people.
FAITH ACTION: Resolve to do some positive good this day. Feed the hungry, visit the sick, help the needy, et cetera.