Matthew 25:40, “And the King will answer them, ‘I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it for me.'”
Most of us are familiar with Jesus’ words, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” They are found in Luke 6:31. We call this phrase The Golden Rule. More than a simple Children’s moral, the Golden Rule challenges us to extend our virtue to those we do not like. In it’s context, Luke 6:31 inspires us to treat even our enemies like we ourselves would like to be treated. Jesus says in Luke 6 that anyone can love someone who loves them back. That’s easy. What’s not easy is loving those we do not like, we consider an enemy, or those who are different. Dramatic transformation, both for the giver and receiver, will occur when radical love is extended towards those most difficult to love.
So fast forward to today’s passage, Matthew 25:40….
Keeping mindful what Jesus taught in Luke 6 will help reveal a connection between the two passages. We are to do unto others as we would do unto the Lord. This is more like The Platinum Rule. We cannot say that we love God if we do not serve his “brothers or sisters”. The connection is that the way we treat others is indicative of our love for Christ and if we are truly serving Him.
The King does not distinguish between our friend or enemy, but we often do in how we extend our services to others. I would guess that we tend to serve and love those who are most like us or those whom we like most. So we must be intentional to get out of our comfort zone in how we serve others. There is no greater way to measure whether we are being true followers of Christ than to examine the way we treat people, regardless of whether we like them (or are like them) or not. Jesus’ family is not limited to those we might simply like or those whom it is easy or convenient to serve.
I am challenged to think about my sphere of influence. Who am I serving? Who are the people of my day who are hungry, thirsty, strangers, naked, sick or imprisoned? Who are the people that I know that I have the ability to serve in some way? Am I going to bat to be an extender of justice, mercy, righteousness and faithfulness in the lives of others? Do I go beyond my comfort zone to reach these people? What I do for them is what I am doing for Christ.