Read: Matthew 25:31-46
This is a story of comparison, when the good king – that’s Jesus – contrasts kindness with selfishness using sheep and goats as a metaphor. The sheep responded generously to “the least of these” and the goats ignored “the least of these”. And the way the people responded to “the least of these” was a direct reflection of how they responded to Jesus himself.
The point is, people who claim to be disciples of Jesus have a responsibility to live selflessly and generously. What Jesus was teaching – that we cannot ignore the needs of people; deny humans made in the image of God their dignity; forget the poor; dismiss the powerless; abuse our privileges or keep all our money to ourselves, and also follow Jesus – was later affirmed by James when he said, “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you,” James 1:27.
Worldly wisdom, especially in our individualist western culture, says that we should get all we can for ourselves and spend it on ourselves and that anything we have is a result of our own hard work and effort. But biblical wisdom says that every good thing we have is an extension of God’s grace, and that giving away what we have – with eyes for the needs of vulnerable people around us – is what actually brings true wealth and honors and reflects the heart of Jesus.
Our tendency is to be one of the goats in Jesus’ story. But with his promise to sow seeds of kindness and selflessness in our hearts (Galatians 5:22-25), we can choose generosity and point other people to the good king, King Jesus.
Have you ever benefitted from someone else’s generosity? How did that experience shape your view of Jesus?
What makes it hard for you to be generous with what you have? What are some ways you can start living more generously?