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FAITH: When our heart is right, we bless God by our actions

Brad McKenzie

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”  Matthew 25:31-46 ESV

There is no part of scripture more convicting to me than this passage.  Yesterday when leaving a retail parking lot, a man stopped me and asked for some change to buy some white bread.  I gave him $6 and he went on his way.  This type of experience is normal for me.  I usually do not give cash, but he was not interested in me buying him some lunch.  As I was picking up our family’s dinner in another part of town, the same man approached me and asked for some change to by some white bread.  I reminded him of our earlier encounter where I gave him some cash.  He turned and walked away.

Initially I started to think he was a scammer and was just mooching off people.  Then I remembered “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me!”  I continue to meditate on the words of Jesus, and these words continue to remind me of our obligation to help others, even if we risk it being a scam.  I have learned in my life to default to grace and trust the Lord with those who may try to take advantage of me.  If we are all honest with ourselves, we often take advantage of God’s grace and scam His mercy.

When we help others, we risk being taken advantage of, but when our heart is right, we bless God by our actions!  That is Good News!

 Rev. Brad McKenzie is Lead Pastor at Orange First Church of the Nazarene, 3810 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Orange.