Ministering Unto the Least of These
By David Jachim
One of the great teachings of Holy Scripture can be seen in Matthew 25, where Jesus is communicating the truth about the separation of the sheep from the goats at the time of the eternal judgment. In this passage, the sheep are those who are righteous having received that righteousness through their faith in Christ, while the goats are those who are unrighteous based on not bowing before God’s throne of grace to become born-again believers.
There is a message that we as children of God can learn from the words of Christ to both the sheep and the goats that should serve to spur us on toward love and good deeds. As we examine these words, we should be inspired to diligently minister in the Name that is above all names. In this passage, Christ commends the sheep for giving Him drink when He was thirsty, food when He was hungry, clothing Him when He was naked, visiting Him when He was sick, and coming to Him when He was in prison. When the people of faith question Jesus asking when they served Him in this manner, the Lord responds with the following:
“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:40, KJV)
We see that by reaching out to others and giving to them in their time of need, the view of our Lord and Savior is that we are ministering directly unto Him. Therefore, we should first be looking to those that are around us to determine what their needs are and then we should be prayerfully considering how we can meet those needs. Christ’s words should cause us to ask the following question: “If Jesus had these needs, would I be willing to meet them?” I would hope that we would all be able to answer that question without hesitation or reservation with a resounding “YES!” While it is true that there is no way that we can meet every need that we see, that should be no excuse to be people of inaction.
God has given us a tremendous privilege as His children to be ambassadors for Him and represent Him to the world. What an incredible blessing to know that as we help others and meet their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, we are doing that which is pleasing in the sight of the Lord. There will be at least the following five blessings that result from these acts of love and service:
- First, the most obvious blessing is that the receiver will be provided something that they need.
- Second, the receiver will be provided with the blessing that they are not alone on this earth in whatever situation they are facing.
- Third, the giver will be blessed with the joy of being needed and able to help someone.
- Fourth, the giver will be blessed with the knowledge that the Name of Christ, as well as Christ Himself, will be honored.
- Fifth, the giver will be blessed in the life that is to come by the Lord Jesus Christ.
After the conversation with the sheep, the Lord addresses the goats. When the goats are told that they ignored the needs of the Lord, they question Jesus when it was that they failed to meet His needs. In a manner that is similar to the words to the sheep, our Lord indicated that by not ministering to those that God brought to them that these goats did not minister to Him. The following words of Christ represent His judgment on these goats for their failure:
Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (Matthew 25:45-46, KJV)
Just as satisfying the needs of the least of these was honored by Jesus, so the failure to fulfill these needs is judged by our Lord and He counts this abandonment of others as being done directly against Him.
To be certain that this passage is clear, the Lord is not teaching that whether we enter into heaven is dependent upon the works that we do here on this earth. It is only by faith that we are saved from our sin and the eternal judgment that our sin deserves. While we are not saved by our works, as followers of Christ we are to be bearing good fruit (Luke 6:43-45). We should be joyfully seeking to serve others as a way to honor and glorify our Lord. Our desire should be to shine our light before men that they may see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven. In so doing, we will be directly serving our Lord and can look forward to receiving a reward when we stand before Him at the final judgment for carrying out these works. Go forth and serve Christ by wholeheartedly giving to those that the Lord brings to you who are in need - even the least of these!