Friday, March 10, 2006

40-Days to Servanthood: Day 6

God values servanthood more than anything else.

In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus tells the story of the final judgment when He, the “Son of Man,” will return to the world. Jesus says that standing before Him will be two groups of people, characterized as “sheep” and “goats.”

To the sheep, He’ll say: “Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. And here's why: I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room, I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit, I was in prison and you came to me.'”

Later, Jesus says, He’ll turn to the goats and tell them: “Get out, worthless goats! You're good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because--I was hungry and you gave me no meal, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was homeless and you gave me no bed, I was shivering and you gave me no clothes, Sick and in prison, and you never visited.'” (taken from The Message paraphrase)

There are three things you need to notice about this account. The first and second ones we’ll talk about today and the third will be our topic tomorrow.

The first: Jesus extols the sheep because of their servanthood and condemns the goats because of their failure to serve. Servanthood is the highest virtue in heaven. For we who pray, “Your will be done on earth as in heaven,” this is especially important.

The second thing: Jesus says that whenever the sheep fed the hungry, gave water to the thirsty, provided shelter to the homeless, clothed the naked, or visited the sick or imprisoned, they were really serving Jesus Himself. This tells us that the key to being a servant is to view each person we encounter as though they were Jesus.

God values servanthood more than anything.

Bible passage to ponder: “’I tell you whenever you did this for one of the least important of these brothers of mine, you did it for me” (Matthew 25:40, The Good News Bible).

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