Serving the Least – Matthew 25:31-46
“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. … whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”
Is it possible to ignore those in need around us and still be a Christian? In a description of the final judgement, in Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus very plainly shares with us that he expects us to serve one another. Not just service through acknowledgement of the need, but actual works that assist our brother or sister.
How many of us have seen someone on the corner or been approached by a stranger asking for money? How many of us have personally known someone that we would call a friend that was in need?
Is there a difference in how we should respond? I would say that most of us would quickly respond to the friend in need and unfortunately many us may look the other way and ignore the stranger. Is this what Jesus meant when he praised the blessed for helping “him” in time of need? Not really, Jesus actually continues in this parable telling the goats to depart because “whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”
Jesus tells us that it is just as important to help the strangers as it is to help those we know and love. In John 13:34-35 he says: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
What better way to demonstrate the love and kindness and compassion of Jesus Christ than by reaching out to the “least of these” among us? Our ability to provide service to others is a blessing and if we actively pursue it, we can share the love of our Christ to others. Did Jesus not tell us in Mark 12:31 to “Love your neighbor as yourself”?