When I preached on “life verses” a couple of weeks ago, the first person in the line after the service said “Matthew 25:40.” It was her life verse.
Now Matthew 25 contains three pretty popular parables (the Bridesmaids, The Talents, and the Sheep and the Goats), and her verse is the summation of this third parable.
‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me. “
This verse has been quoted to explain why our church hosts a Soup Kitchen each Saturday. This verse has been the motivation behind all types of acts of Christian charity and love. This verse is a life verse.
Matthew 25:40 belongs in the context of the parable that Jesus told:
31 “When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. 34 Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? 38 And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? 39 And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’
Why do some followers of Christ visit the sick, the lonely, and the people in prison? Why do some followers of Christ offer food to the hungry and a drink to those who thirst? Why do some of us followers of Jesus do what we do?
God, let me help each person I meet today just as I would help Jesus if I found him in need along the way. Amen.