Meeting Human Needs

Meeting Human Needs (Matthew 25:31-46)

Grace or Deed?

For many Christians, this parable from Jesus (sorting out the sheep from the goats according to how they love) is troubling. “We live under grace,” some would say, “so what’s this about the King categorizing us according to our deeds?

Is our theology formed by our traditions, and philosophy, or the actual words of Jesus? Jesus teaches that how we live and love makes a difference in our eternal “inheritance.” Those who do not love properly “will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Jesus says, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.” We all want to know who will get the inheritance. Each of us will be put into one of two groups—sheep (the righteous), or goats (those on the left). No politics here. Those who want to inherit the kingdom had better learn how to treat every person the same way they would treat the King. The King is watching. The righteous cannot ignore certain people and expect to fool the King. That teaching from Jesus was extremely upsetting to some in his original audience.

We are being commanded to meet human needs—to give food and drink, invite people over, give away clothing, help the sick, visit prisoners. The disturbing part about this is that we cannot be selective. Jesus personify all those in need, down to “the least.”

This teaching should shock us.

Kennon Callahan comments…

“There is nothing in the text that suggests ‘for I was hungry, and you bought a piece of land, I was thirsty and you hired a pastor, I was a stranger, and you held a committee meeting, I was naked and you sought out an architect, I was sick and you raised money, I was in prison and you built a building.’ . . . By the time the land is bought, the minister hired, the members acquired, and the buildings built, amnesia has set in and we have forgotten why we did all of this in the first place.” Our committee meetings had better relate somehow to meeting needs of people—or else we are goats.

In our individual lives, opportunities come our way all the time to love “the least.”

evesadam

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