Daily Devotion – November 17, 2020 – Dr. Pat Taylor Ellison
25:31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory.
25:32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats,
25:33 and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.
25:34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;
25:35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
25:36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’
25:37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink?
25:38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing?
25:39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’
25:40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’
25:41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels;
25:42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,
25:43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’
25:44 Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’
25:45 Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’
25:46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
This long story has enough in it for a whole book. But I want to take just one idea for this devotion:
Human beings being kind to “the least of these.”
Who are “the least”? If we wanted to earn our way into heaven, knowing who “the least of these” are would help us make a roadmap of good deeds to be done to assure us of eternal life. As Lutherans, we know it isn’t about good deeds. God has already made us a promise and fulfilled it in Jesus and sent the Holy Spirit to teach it to us. We believe, and we are already redeemed.
So why do we even need to care about “the least”? Because almost every day, even in our isolation during this pandemic, we hear of someone less – someone who feels worse – someone who has fewer – someone who needs more – fill in the blanks. Find the lowest person you know – loneliest, sickest, most depressed, least mobile, most unequipped for life’s present challenges, and show up. Make a call. Send a note. Be there and provide for this person out of your great abundance of joy and treasure. You are already redeemed. You have no need to fear. This gives you contentment that some people can only dream about. Share with the least out of your gratitude. Ironically, it will be you who gain from this giving. But then you will have more to give on the following day. This is one way God blesses the world.
Lord God, Thank you for loving us. Thank you for giving us abundant gifts. Help us share these gifts with “the least” every day of our lives. Amen.