My favorite scriptures of all are Matthew 25:34-40 where Christ is describing those who will be saved in the Final Judgment:
“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
I’ve recited these many, many times. I love the message and the call to action of these verses. And I’ve heard many people discuss them on how we should be kind to others, “feed” their spirits, “clothe” their vulnerability, and more.
But what if He meant this literally?
When was the last time I actually gave food to a hungry person?
When was the last time I actually gave clothes to a person in need?
When was the last time I actually went to a prison to talk to inmates?
It can be sobering to look at these verses literally and ask these questions. We often live lives that are very disconnected from those truly in need. We drive around our suburbs and go to our stores and just don’t see the people who are truly hungry, naked, or in prison.
So as we contemplate what we can actually DO about this, I’d like to offer some ideas:
1. Do a food drive throughout your neighborhood and take the food collected to the food bank.
2. Go volunteer at the food bank! You can sort cans, stock shelves, and actually help those who are hungry.
3. Go through all the closets in your house and ask, “Have I/we worn this in the last 2 years?” If not, donate to a local donation facility. People need your clothes!
4. Contact your local prison and ask what opportunities are available for you or your family to meet and serve the inmates. The sweetest speaking opportunities I’ve ever had were in prisons. The inmates are so very hungry for love.
5. Stock your car with supplies for the homeless – small hygiene kits, small packs of food like granola bars and raisins, etc. so you have them ready to hand over when you see a need.
As we reach out to those truly in need around us, we are literally serving our Savior. What a privilege!
And someday, we will hear him say, “Come ye blessed.” What a great blessing indeed.