Just before that, in Matthew 25 - “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’"
Both of these sets of verses are troubling for us, the first for Jesus' seeming callousness, the second for its conviction of our oftentimes unobservant lifestyle. After all, are we really doing all we can for the hungry, the thirsty, the strangers, the naked, the sick, and the prisoners in our midst?
But consider this proverb that unites our Union-with-Him and our duty-to-them:
Proverbs 19:17 - "Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done."
With our eyes only upon Jesus, the faces we encounter become His face; the needs amongst us are simply His needs, expressed through others. How simple a thing to "lend to the Lord" when we know that He's the One who's living in us, providing for us, making ever greater use of our lives! A simple walk down the city sidewalk becomes an opportunity to walk His Way; we are transacting love only between ourselves and Him!
Brothers and sisters, may we "lend" generously to all who are "always with us" today, for whatever we do for "one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine," we're actually privileged to do for Him!