Are you a sheep or a goat? Believe it or not, that’s a question with eternal implications.
For the past several days, we’ve been discussing Jesus’ Olivet Discourse — a series of lessons he taught on the Mount of Olives during his final week on this planet. Today, we reach the heart-hitting conclusion of that teaching:
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?”
The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Then he will say to those on his left, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.”
They also will answer, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?”
He will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”
Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.
Read these words from Jesus again: “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
When we serve “the least of these,” it’s as if we’re serving Jesus. When we don’t, we don’t.
As Jesus’ disciple John said:
If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
(1 John 3:17-18)
Want to reeeeeally serve Jesus? Feed the hungry. Take in strangers. Clothe the needy. Care for the sick. Visit the imprisoned.
Be a sheep. Not a goat.
(Image credit: Shutterstock.com)