“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.’Matthew 25:40
The parable of the sheep and goats describes the scene at what we might call the final judgment. It is after the Lord’s return, and he has gathered all peoples before him, separating them into two groups. One group is identified as his sheep and the other as goats. The sheep are invited into their inheritance, the kingdom that was prepared for them. The goats, on the other hand, are cast into the eternal fire. The selection criteria between these two groups were based on what they had done for Jesus. Those who had cared for him in his need were rewarded. The others were not. And, on inquiry, Jesus told them that whatever they had done for others, they had done for him.
Caring for the Least of These
This is a parable, so we should not make too much of the details. Especially concerning what it takes to be saved. What Jesus is trying to teach us here is the importance of caring for other people. When I see a brother or sister in need, and I can do something about that need, then I should. I suspect most of us do this sometimes. We seem especially generous around Christmas time. And to those who have some significance in our lives.
But Jesus calls on us to do this whenever the need arises. And even to the least significant. Remember that whatever I do for the least among us, is done for Jesus. And whatever I don’t do, is ignoring Jesus in his need. Be generous. Not just at special times. But always. And not just to those you care for. But to all in need.