All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. – Matt. 25:32-33 NIV
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Jesus Christ had just concluded one of his numerous parables which aimed at sensitising all people about a day of reckoning which will surely come. In that particular parable, he had made all his disciples then and now come to the awareness that everyone had been given one form of spiritual and material gift called talent by the Almighty God, although in different measures – Matt. 25:14-30. These gifts, according to him, are expected to be used to win more souls over to God because a day will definitely come when all people will be expected to give account of how such gifts are used, as the giver will be expecting a profit from the use of the gift. As far as the Almighty God is concerned, the gift is an investment aimed at getting more souls back to Himself and the effort of the individual with that gift in that direction will surely be assessed.
In order to achieve the above objective, Jesus Christ is coming back, not to die for sins again but is coming in glory, in the company of his angels to sit on his glorious throne. It is in this position, according to the foundation scripture for today’s devotion, that all nations will be gathered to him and he will separate the people one from another like a shepherd will separate sheep from goats, with the sheep to his right and goats to his left – Matt. 25:31-33. He will then invite those who are to his right and whom he considers blessed into their inheritance which has been prepared for them since creation (Matt. 25:34), whilst those to his left whom he considers cursed will be sent away from him into eternal fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels – Matt. 25:41. The difference between both groups is caring or non-caring for the needy when they were in a position to do so. Members of both groups were ignorant of the fact that he considered caring for these set of people as he being cared for – Matt. 25:35-40; 42-46.
Although members of both groups were ignorant of this fact, the group to the right were still able to do the needful because they, listened and applied his instructions to their lives just as sheep will take to the instructions of a shepherd, whereas the group to the left chose to either refuse to listen or decided to play deaf by choosing to do otherwise, like goats will react to the instructions of a shepherd. Christians need to appreciate the importance that the Almighty God and by inference, His son Jesus Christ place on the care for the needy. The word “needy” is an adjective used to describe the poor and the people in this group that interests the Almighty God and His son are not necessarily those that do not have for reasons of laziness or those who have chosen to make begging a profession as they seek to always present a picture of being poor as a foundation for perpetually seeking help and support. Such people are not the ones in reference when the Almighty God is referring to the needy.
The needy in the view of the Almighty God, in this instance, are those who are poor because of situations beyond their control. The one who has made begging a profession definitely does not belong to this group. In this group are:
- Orphans because they suddenly lost the support and care of both parents at a stage in life when such help is required – Jms. 1:27. They will therefore need help of others who are not their parents for the provision of such support, to be able to have a good platform for success in life.
- Widows are another group of people that the Almighty God and His son are interested in – 1Tim. 5:3-16. A married individual ordinarily may have been mainly dependent on the partner for some form of support or the other and loss of such a partner can create a gap that may require others to help fill. Caring for people in such situations is seen as help for the Almighty God and His son. It should be noted that the Apostle Paul further clarified the persons that may even be qualified to be so classified. Such according to him must be above the age of Sixty years, must be well known for her good works, should have been known to be faithful to her husband and be associated with good works generally but then it would be that such has no children who are in a position to care for him/her – 1Tim. 5:9-10.
- Foreigners and strangers because they are in transit or have just arrived in a strange land and may not be equipped with all that is required for that initial period of settling in a strange land – Heb. 13:2. Caring for such people is important to the Almighty God and His son and it may even be a contact point to receiving help required for success in life from the Lord.
- The servants of the Almighty God working in His vineyard as they do not have the opportunity to earn income from any other source aside from the care received from people – Deut. 12:19. Caring for them is considered as caring for Him and His son.
This does not rule out the need to care for others when one is in a position to do so but the care that is of importance to him is the one that has been rendered to the needy as recognised by him. The Christian should always think heaven wards and use whatever talent he or she possesses here on earth to take care of these set of people whom the Lord considers as needy because just as Jesus said, care rendered to these group of people is care rendered to him and he will surely bless those who render this type of care with eternal life when he returns to judge his people. That care provided for these group of people may just be the deciding factor with regards to where you spend your eternity. Only the proverbial goats according to Jesus Christ in today’s scripture will ignore this revelation and will therefore, definitely find themselves in eternal fire but the proverbial sheep will take the decision to care for the needy, especially for those in that class as defined by the Almighty God, so that they can be considered blessed and welcomed into their prepared inheritance. The choice to be a goat or a sheep remains yours. May God guide your decision making process in Jesus name. Amen.