31 “Now when the Human One [of Son of Man] comes in his majesty and all his angels are with him, he will sit on his majestic throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered in front of him. He will separate them from each other, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right side. But the goats he will put on his left.
34 “Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who will receive good things from my Father. Inherit the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world began. 35 I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. 36 I was naked and you gave me clothes to wear. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.’
37 “Then those who are righteous will reply to him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? 38 When did we see you as a stranger and welcome you, or naked and give you clothes to wear? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40 “Then the king will reply to them, ‘I assure you that when you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me.’
People who don’t have enough to eat or wear, who can’t afford good (or any) care if they’re sick, who are in prison, who are outsiders in your community—most of us are willing to do a little something to help “them.” Jesus called people like that “the least of these brothers and sisters of mine.” Joining in Jesus' work to renew the world means seeing that the poor, the sick, the prisoners, the aliens are not “them” at all—they’re “us.” Jesus called us to build a legacy of loving our neighbors, his brothers and sisters, as one human family, caring and sharing the way he did.
O God, keep my eyes and my heart open to see your face in the faces of hurting people around me who need your touch through me. Amen.
As I considered this week’s passage, I recalled a discussion we had in our Christian Heroes class about the life of George Mueller (1805-1898). Let’s see how his life might apply to us today:
Our friend, George, wouldn’t be an obvious pick as a Christian hero. As a young man growing up in Kroppenstaedt, Prussia (now Germany), Mueller was a carouser, a scamp, &, well, a petty thief.
Mueller decides to enter the Lutheran clergy at his father’s request. Neither had noble reasons for such a vocation. Dad wanted him to be pastor so George could take care of him in his old age, while George was just looking for an easy gig.
Aside: I had several jokes about lazy employees, but none of them work. On the other hand, there was this ambitious employee who got fired for putting in too many shifts. It’s a shame. He loved making computer keyboards.
While in seminary a fellow student reluctantly tells George about a Bible study. He figures George wouldn’t be interested. However, George decides to join him. George’s life is transformed during the gathering. He sees people on their knees praying. He watches as the group reads from the Bible & has heartfelt discussions. He hears them sharing earnest prayers. George is flush. He feels unworthy to be in their presence – like a man with muddy shoes in a beautiful home. The host stops George from leaving. Afterwards, he invites George to come back anytime. George becomes a regular participant.
George is all-in now. Much to his father’s dismay, George decides upon graduation from seminary to take a low-paying missionary job. However, due to poor health he has to re-think his plans. He moves to London, gets married, & in 1834 sets up The Scriptural Knowledge Institute for Home & Abroad. (TSKIFHAA for short.) The Institute’s objectives are:
(Sounds good so far, but what does this have to do with our passage? – Editor. Hang on - George is just getting warmed up – DL.)
In 1839 England is in turmoil. It is in the midst of the 2nd Great Cholera epidemic. George realizes that there are hundreds of orphans who had no recourse for food & shelter, so he adds a 5th objective to the Institute: Care for orphans. George & his wife, Mary, start in their own home to care for 26 children. They then build a home in Bristol to house, educate, & provide Christ-like care to kids in need. Over the next 23 years, George would build multiple orphanages, each one bigger than the last. The Institute would ultimately be able to house 2,050 orphans at one time.
In sum, Mueller would provide life-saving support for over 10,000 children during his lifetime. (In 1878, he had an emotional reunion with a 71-year-old woman who had been the 1st child in his care.)
So, what might George’s life mean for us today?
If a former 1st rate sinner like George Mueller can become a 1st rate Christian providing great comfort, relief, & hope to those in need, then who knows what we can accomplish in His name? And perhaps we’ll all hear a heavenly voice exclaim, “By George, I think they’ve got it!”
Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to complete an online survey: Are you a lazy worker? If yes, please answer the next 13 questions. If no, the survey is completed. (Thinking.) NO.
PS: On March 10, 1898, the traffic in Bristol came to a standstill as Mr. Mueller’s funeral procession passed through town. Over 10,000 people, including thousands of children, lined the streets to honor “The Champion of Orphans.”
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