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The Simplest Idea in the Whole World

Matthew 25: 31-46
Ephesians 2:8-9

After the end of the age when God gathers all of creation together with his entourage of glorious angelic beings, He will address all of the nations of the earth, separating each individual into two different groups.  One group He will call sheep and place them to His right.  The other group he will call goats and place them to His left.  The sheep are the righteous who are redeemed by Christ, those who have accepted God’s gift of forgiveness.  The goats are the ones who rejected God’s free gift of salvation.

Then He will address those sheep on the right saying, “Come, you are my blessed ones.  There is an inheritance awaiting you.”  It is God’s kingdom which He has prepared for You since the time He created the world.  And then He will tell a story that every person will understand.  It is such a simple principle, that the most immature to the most educated will be able to relate to it.  Rich and poor and everyone in between will understand the idea.  Whether you have the lowliest or highest position in the land, you will grasp it.  He said, “I was hungry and you fed Me.  I was thirsty and you brought Me water.”  And He continues on, “I was a stranger and you invited Me in.  I needed clothing and you clothed Me.  I was sick and you looked after me.  I was in prison and you came to visit Me.”

The sheep will turn to Him and say, “Lord, we never saw you hungry, thirsty, lonely, or needing clothes.  We never saw that you were sick or in prison.  You have none of these needs.”  And here was the Lord’s answer, “Truthfully, in your lifetime, whenever you gave these things to people in the world that you met, it was as if you were doing it for Me.  These needy people were all around you.  They had no social standing, no economic power, or intellectual and physical ability to access resources.” “You, my beloved sheep, made sure that these powerless people received the basic needs of life.  When you served them, you served Me.”

Then He turned to the goats and said the most dreadful of all statements uttered in the total continuum of time from beginning to end, “Depart from Me, I know you not.  Eternal fire, which is prepared for the devil and his angels is where you are going.  When I was hungry, you gave Me nothing to eat.  I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink.  I was a stranger and you did not invite Me in.  I was sick and in prison and you did not look after Me.”

Then the goats answered, “When did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger, or needing clothes, or sick or in prison and did not help You?”  He then replied to them, “Truthfully whoever did NOT do for one of the least of these, did NOT do it for Me.”

So the unrighteous, those who never accepted God’s redemption through Jesus’ death on the cross, went away to eternal separation from God. The righteous, those who accepted God’s gift of salvation went to eternal life with all of the other righteous saints who went before them.

Is there anything easier than getting a drink of water and serving it to a thirsty person?  A real life application in the life of Mike Meaney was demonstrated the day we were driving back from Kyunga Village.  Whenever Mike saw a disabled person along the road, he would say, “Stop the car!”  On this particular day, the driver stopped and backed up, and as was the routine for these roadside encounters, he pulled the car up next to the man so that the passenger door opened directly next to the man sitting in the road.  Mike opened the car door, and twisted his body around to hang his legs out the door to face the man.  He greeted the man, introduced himself, and then lifted his pant legs up to show his silver and black titanium prosthetic legs. Mike addressed the man as he had done many times before with other disabled people, “I see you have difficulty getting around, too.” When the man in the road saw Mike’s smile and then his legs, his own face quickly formed a beautiful wide smile that needed no language.  Mike asked the young man if there was anything he could do to help make his life easier, like a wheelchair, or surgery and braces. The young man answered he would like to have a wheelchair operated with hand-driven mechanisms.  Mike asked if he was hungry. He said, “No, but I am  thirsty.”  EASY.  We all had bottled water with us.  Anyone could give him water without any effort.  And the wheelchair?  Mike could do that too.  He just had to make a couple of local phone calls and it was almost done.  Well—almost.

We took a photograph of the man but neglected to get his name.  So we had to locate him back in his village with the picture, which was easy to do.  Everybody knows everybody and we just showed the picture to people and they pointed us in his direction.  Then we were able to deliver the wheelchair to him.  It was very possible he could have surgery and then wear braces.  The doctors in “our” orthopedic
hospital were able to help him.  All that was needed was money for the wheelchair ($140), surgery ($400), transportation to travel to Kampala ($20).  For less than $600 this man’s life was radically changed.  How much work was that?  Not much for Mike Meaney.

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