“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)
Jesus told this parable to highlight some key ways to live out the Golden Rule: “Do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12).
If you read the entire parable, you will notice that Jesus links sacrificial hospitality with eternal reward. He goes so far as to say that the way we treat other image bearers of God is the way we treat God himself. We love God by loving others.
We may nod in agreement and then give some money or food to a homeless shelter or a food pantry. But Jesus specifically says, “You gave me something to eat … you invited me in … you clothed me … you came to visit me.” Contributions coupled with personal involvement are a God-honoring combination.
There are people in your community today who are feeling neglected and forgotten, especially those whose situations may cause them to feel ashamed. Think of someone struggling with mental health issues, loneliness, abuse, guilt, job loss, financial crisis, marital trouble, or children not walking with God. Ask God to bring someone to your mind, and reach out personally with a card, call, visit, or coffee invitation.
Consider it a date with Jesus; you might just see him in them, and they may see him in you.
God of compassion, give us your heart for people who are not outcasts in your eyes but precious ones in whom you dwell. May we love them, learn from them, and see you in them. Amen.