"And he will answer, 'I tell you the truth, when you refuse to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.' And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life."
In the past when I've read this, I've thought that if I'm not doing the specific things Jesus listed, then I'm in danger of going to hell.
"For I was hungry, and you didn't feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn't give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn't invite me to your home. I was naked, and you didn't give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn't visit me.
This morning as I read it I have a different understanding. If I'm not doing things like this, then I need to question whether I truly know the Lord. I'm not seeing this as a list of specific things that we must do to get to heaven, but a starting point.
"And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded."
This verse implies that no act of mercy will go unrewarded. However, we don't do these things for the reward or as a way to get to heaven. Only Jesus' blood can get us to heaven. No, we do these things BECAUSE we have salvation. We do these things out of a grateful heart and out of love for our Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave the greatest act of mercy ever. He died on a cruel cross for our sins, and then rose again.
Lord, I want to be ready and available to be your hands and feet! I praise you for freely giving me the salvation that I could never earn on my own!
This Week's Memory Verses
This is what the LORD says: "Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts from the LORD."
Romans 1:16 (NIV)
I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
Romans 1:16 (NIV)