Matthew 25:31-46 Children can follow along in Shine On page 258 and Spark 318.
45 Then he will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.’
There is something beautiful and simple about this passage as a whole. Take care of the forgotten, the weak, the poor, the left out, and you take care of Christ... and you "take care" of God. You take care of God's desires. You satisfy God.
What trips us up with this passage is the "eternal" word. We do not know what to do with the last part when, prior to these two verses, when the king denounces those on his left side that ignored those in need. Is God really sending them into eternal punishment?
Again, I think we miss point a bit. For me, this passage is Jesus' way of showing that life will only come when we take care of everyone, and "punishment" will continue when we leave some people out. Society aches in loud ways when we do not take care of everyone. I think of schools where children go hungry and homeless. Do we not as a society take on the punishment of food insecurity, legal fees, prison costs, relationship tragedies, etc. when we do not take care of these families? When we do not offer everyone a living wage and real opportunities to work for a real wage. Real opportunities to rest and reflect and relax (while knowing that you make enough to live on). This is my own political bias, and I fully acknowledge it. But maybe in your own life you have a way of reaching those who are simply hungry and homeless. Regardless of our political views, we have a clear calling - work towards eternal life. It's a bit less of a judgment by Jesus in my understanding, and much more of a simple understanding of what the future is "already bringing."
If we take care of each other, then life will continue, and hopefully eternally. If we don't take care of each other, then punishment, in all it's forms, will continue for decades.
God be with you, and everyone, today!
Events & Evites:
Tory - Pastor of Children and Youth Faith Formation.