I was reading this morning and thinking about a few things I have heard people say in the last couple of months in and around churches. I have been burden with some of it because it sometimes feels like we as individuals and whole churches have adopted the; I have mine and that is all that matters mentality. I hope you know what I mean, they are so focused on waiting on Christ’s promised return that they are too busy to look at what God has placed right in-front of them to do. Now having assurance of salvation is a great and wonderful thing I pray that every Christian has it and can rest upon it. There are days and times in which it might be all you have to hang on to. However, we cannot go through life with that as our only goal. People are dying everyday who don’t have that security and we have been instructed as Christians to teach them about Jesus and the sacrifice He made for them.
19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 NIV
Now I am not throwing stones, I have walked in those same shoes. However, recently I have realized that is not what God has called us to. You see Jesus taught a lot about what he wanted His disciples to do after He had gone back to the Father. One parable he used is found in Matthew 25:31-46 and it’s the parable of the Sheep and the Goats.
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32All 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. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Matthew 25:31-33 NIV
Shepherds separated their animals for a number of reasons two examples are grazing habits or to shear them for their wool. No one really knows why Jesus’ parable uses them as the description other than it is easy for the shepherd to tell the difference between them. Just as it will be on the Day of Judgment that awaits us all.
34 “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. 35For 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, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “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 25:34-40 NIV
Jesus tells them that when we do things for others we are doing things for him. You see this goes back to understanding that we are all made in the Image of God. Sometimes this is hard for us to remember because people can be so hard to deal with at times. However, I believe that if we look in the mirror we can be too. Human nature shows that we are often selfish thinking only of ourselves. Like little children who have never been made to share. I say this with three fingers pointing back at myself. You see often we fail to live up to what God has called us to mainly because we get in our own way we think more of ourselves than we ought and thereby think less of those we have been sent to teach about Jesus. There is coming a day when we will see Jesus face to face and I pray you don’t hear these words found in Matthew 25:41-46;
41 “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. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I 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.’
44 “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?’
45 “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.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (NIV)
Are we so focused on our own salvation and waiting on the return of Christ; that we have forgotten those around us that do not know Jesus? If so I want to challenge you today to take a look at the present and stop focusing on a future: that no man knows the hour or the day, of only to find out you were really living a goat’s life because you missed out on the sheep’s work. Be blessed as you walk in the light of God’s Word.