This is a sobering teaching of Jesus. In it, we see clearly that God is the judge and we will all stand before Him and His true and honest evaluation of our lives. God will measure our faithfulness and love for Him with an interesting metric – how we have treated others. Of course, accepting Jesus as our Savior and Lord is essential, but the evidence of this being real is what this lesson shows us. If we have really surrendered our life to Christ, then there will be clear and compelling evidence. This evidence is found in how we love and care for those around us who are truly in need. Compassion and kindness to the needy, lonely, hurting and lost is what Jesus offered and what He expects from His followers. In a world where publicity, celebrity and grand gestures rule, Jesus is looking for genuine acts of service that may never get noticed– except that God is completely aware of both the actions and the motives behind them.
A couple of years ago this hit home with me. We had a guest speaker doing a seminar at New Hope and with him were a team that handled his book sales. I was in my “normal” attire of jeans and a tee shirt and when I said hello to one of the team members, he clearly brushed me off. Very soon afterwards, someone introduced me to him as the Sr. Pastor and the guy’s attitude changed completely – he was so glad to meet me! When I looked unimportant, that was how I was treated. Now, before I cast any stones, honesty compels me to admit that I have treated others similarly. But Jesus wouldn’t and He expects those of us who follow to imitate Him.
This week’s teaching shouldn’t cause us to fear God’s judgment, rather it should lead us to see how God measures faith and then act accordingly!