“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that 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 something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me. Matthew 25:31-40
All of us have a clean slate for living as we move into a new year. All of us have an opportunity to fill the days ahead with what we choose. Maybe we can make this a new year of serving Christ.
Near the end of Matthew’s gospel, Jesus tells one of his most memorable parables – “The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats.” As we listen to this story of a conversation that will be held at the judgement of the nations, we find that the blessings of God are wished upon those who spent their lives helping others. These people are actually promised that they will find that as they reached out to strangers with food, clothing, care and hospitality, they were really ministering to Jesus himself. Maybe that’s why serving others in Christ’s name feels so good and fulfilling.
With a new year at our disposal, maybe this will be the year when you will help feed someone at our Saturday Soup Kitchen or through Meals on Wheels. Maybe you will choose to spend some of your days this year visiting a neighbor or friend who can no longer get out often, or stopping by a nursing home to befriend a lonely stranger. Maybe this will be the year when your phone calls, cards, and notes of encouragement will make a difference in someone else’s life (and yours.)
God of love and care, show me how to serve and whom to serve, as I take the love of Christ to another person today. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.