There is a parable Jesus told regarding the final judgment. You can find it in Matthew 25 toward the end of the chapter. In this teaching, the Son of Man (Jesus) and all the angels gather in the throne room. All the people of the earth are gathered and Jesus, I assume with the help of the angels, separates the people into two groups. The ones on the right he calls sheep, the ones on his left he calls goats.
This separation in itself is a bit of foreshadowing. In ancient culture, the right hand was preferred, the place of honor and recognition. So, for those listening, they should hope to identify with the sheep rather than the goats. But will they?
Jesus goes on to say this to his listeners…
34“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’Matthew 25:34-36
Jesus mentions five ways to care for those in need: give them food and drink and provide them with clothes are three ways. Check, check, check! All can be done with a simple transfer of funds from me to an organization or store and the goods dropped off at a pick up location. This is a tremendous way to help those in need. It is impossible for me to know every possible need, so developing a relationship with an organization that does know is an excellent strategy.
The last two: invite a stranger into your home and visit someone in prison. Those are much more difficult. They are difficult because they require me to invest my time and presence. It takes more of everything to invest in someone’s life in this way.
As I consider this shift in thinking, my response is to pray. I ask the Holy Spirit to give me greater awareness for those in need and the courage to meet the need, even if it means it requires my time. I am not where I want to be in this regard, but I feel like I’m turning in the right direction. And I believe that my desire to please the Father is indeed pleasing to him.
What about you? Is it easier to give time or finances? Does the investment of time prevent you from reaching out to someone in need? What will be your next steps?