Others Devotional, volume 24

Find the ‘Other’ In Our Lives by Brice Yocum

Scripture:  “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.” Matthew 25:31-46

It’s not often that we talk about the “final judgment.” While that would be an excellent reality TV show title (words you rarely hear together: “excellent reality TV”), scripturally they have a more ominous tone. “Final…Judgment” …whoa! But these verses in Matthew are one of the only places in the ENTIRE Bible that talk about what’s important when this life is over, and we stand before God. Now that’s worth reading, right? Of all the things that we learn, do and accomplish in life, wouldn’t it be cool to know what’s really going to matter when we meet Jesus?

More importantly, when I read these verses in my wife’s bible, the one given to her nearly 30 years ago, the letters in these verses are in red. Now if you’ve been around awhile, you know what this means. This is a big deal! Verses in red are the words of Jesus! This isn’t some friend-of-a-friend of Jesus writing here; this is the Messiah, the Prince of Peace, the Son of Man, the… well you get it. This matters.

So here we are in Matthew 25, verses 32-46. We are about to find out, from Jesus, what is expected of us in the final judgment. Are you ready? In the parable, Jesus has come in all his glory with the ENTIRE world gathered before him. Jesus says then that the “nations” will be separated like a shepherd separates “sheep from the goats.” Note that in this story, you want to be a sheep. Sheep are on the right side…and believe me, in this story, the right side IS the right side.

“Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom…” Oh wow! That’s amazing news, but Jesus continues to explain how this happened: “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, 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.”

Yes! We did it! That’s what I would say if I heard those words from Jesus. But not these guys. Either they’re in shock or just dumb, but they ask a question, “are you sure Jesus? We don’t remember seeing you or doing that.”

Now if I was there, I’d poke that guy right in the nose. “Are you sure?” What, are you kidding me? Just get in there…run, he’s invited us in. What are you trying to do? What if he changes his mind?

But lucky for us, I wasn’t there, and so we get to actually learn why these “sheep” were allowed into the kingdom, into paradise. Jesus drops the truth on the sheep: “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.” Boom!

Now I’m honestly a little confused. What about memorizing the bible? What about making lots of money? What about having good friends and staying out of trouble? Are you telling me that even though I “didn’t drink, didn’t chew and never dated girls who do,” that it really doesn’t matter? In a word, “yes.”

See, what I believe Jesus is telling us here is this: what you know only matters when it results in you doing what matters most to Jesus: loving others like we love him. Are we feeding the poor? Are we visiting people in prison? Are we caring for the sick? Are we helping the homeless? Are we welcoming the stranger, the immigrant, the refugee, the other?

Folks, this is good news! It means that at the final judgment, there’s nothing to memorize, there’s no test to prepare for, no race to win, no trivia game based on the Old Testament. No, what Jesus really wants for us in this life is to be His love to the world. To show our love for Him by loving His family, the “least of these.”

Think about the last time you helped someone. How did you feel? Awesome, right? How do you feel now knowing you were helping a member of Christ’s family. “Awesomer!” Let’s all be awesomer! “Others: it’s not about us.”

(“Hey, what about the goats?” you ask. Let’s just say its “baaaaaaaaad.”)

Prayer: Lord, let us continue to put others before ourselves. And let us find your great joy in doing so. Thank you for letting us be your love in this world, a place in such great need of you.

About the Author: Brice Yocum is Erin’s husband, and Kylee, Kaitie and Hannah’s dad. He’s been a lawyer, pastor, professor, administrator and many other ‘ers and ‘ors. Today he farms a little, writes a little and works for Tucoemas, the awesomest credit union in town! He loves the Lord, because the Lord first loved him.

Originally published on March 16, 2017.

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